In 2009, the U.S. generated 291.8 million scrap tires, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Many of these tires get reused, though, and often in unique ways. One Milwaukee-based company called Flat Tire Décor specializes in taking tires that have reached the end of the road and turning them into one-of-a-kind products for the home and garden.
Flat Tire Décor sources all their used tires from nearby Chicago, and all their products are manufactured locally in Milwaukee by organizations that give job training and experience to people with disabilities.
The company makes a variety of "re-inspired" tire products, and because they are all made from different tires, each one is unique. Popular items include flower pots, baskets, mats, shoulder bags and pads for kneeling on while you work in the garden. Some of the products like the baskets are versatile and are suitable for use indoors - perhaps for holding produce or utensils in your kitchen - or outdoors. One reviewer even attached a Flat Tire Décor basket to her bike and used it to carry purchases home from the farmer's market.
If you're interested in gardening outdoors, but lack space, Flat Tire Décor also makes gardening pouches that are perfect for hanging on a wall or fence. They are made from recycled truck inner tubes and have holes in the bottom for drainage.
Believe it or not, the company originally started out turning old tires into footwear. Flat Tire Footwear incorporates used tires into the soles of shoes, which are sold at Sears.
Now, in addition to making home and garden products, Flat Tire Décor also produces flowerpot making kits.
"The Flat Tire Flowerpot kit is a hands-on activity for children encouraging environmental awareness and the responsibilities of caring for a living thing," Mike Hottinger, the company's founder, told Earth911. "The Flowerpots program is perfect for garden centers, scouts, garden clubs, school classroom activities, youth eco organizations and botanical gardens to name a few."
To learn more about Flat Tire Décor or to shop for their products, visit their website.
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