The wheels are in motion on a new art movement in Highland Park, Ill., as nonprofit group The Earth Tire Foundation is turning discarded tires into artwork for consumers and marketing pieces for businesses.
Launched on Earth Day, the organization is already partnering with Harley Davidson dealerships in North Carolina to create customized tire displays. Designs are custom-made based on the project, using eco-friendly paint to add color to the pieces.
There are already more than 20 different available designs such as:
- Circle-shaped foods such as fruits, donuts and even sushi rolls
- Colorful planters and vegetable baskets made from industrial tires
- Wall clocks, ship captain's wheels and other common wall accessories
All of the proceeds from sales cover administrative costs and fees for artist designs. Once the company raises enough money, owners Dr. Mars and Margarita Lans want to purchase equipment that will allow them to shred the tires into rubber for sandals. This has already been tentatively titled the Earth Tire "Foot the Bill" Campaign, and the company will donate a pair of sandals for every pair purchased.
While tires can be recycled into ground rubber for playgrounds or noise reduction as well as burned for energy, they pose environmental problems when stockpiled in landfills. They are a breeding ground for vermin and mosquitos when they collect water, and because tires are made with oil they can cause difficult to distinguish fires characterized by heavy black smoke.