Think before you dump your trash

Garbage gets a wake-up call. This fellow spreads the message

recycled fit and able

An attractive giant puppet made from trash that had been collected from recycling centres adds life and local colour to a craft market. It is sad to think that all these items are usually tossed on waste dumps and landfills to choke up our planet. So many people in poorer areas like crowded African townships lose out on opportunities to turn trash into cash. You often see a lot of litter (potential raw materials) strewn around their living quarters. Worst of all, is that people from the City Council have to be paid to collect it and dump it. Now is the time to wake up and want not. Take a look at these gorgeous goodies. The raw materials are lying at your feet!

Get more mileage out of old car tyres

Our environment is often defaced by trash that ends up in rivers and streams or along the road. Car tyres especially, are unsightly. They are definitely out of place in a clean and green suburb and we often have to remove them during cleaning up campaigns. It is unfair to call car tyre that is no longer roadworthy a piece of garbage or trash. It is merely a huge lump of raw material, waiting to be transformed into loads of useful and attractive items. In Malaysia old tyres are ground up to make a soft paving material for children’s play areas. In Africa the rubber is torn off in strips and used to make shoes and sandals. One of the most familiar items people make is a child’s swing that is cut from an old car tyre.

Old T shirts and tyres

We don’t need to spend a lot of money on cushions and stools for your home when you can sit on old car tyres or their soft and bouncy inner tubes. They can be very attractive and are a good talking point. When you don’t have any cash you become more resourceful. The shaggy rug is mad out of old t-shirts and a piece of garden mesh. Here are some bright ideas for seating and rugs that are easy and cheap to make. Some people have gone into business with their “retired” merchandise.

They sell chairs, swings, rebound trampolines and stools made from old tyres at craft markets. It sets a fine example for the local inhabitants of townships where litter is strewn around. Some of the children are now making their own items from trash to sell and earn some money. When t-shirts are too shabby to be worn then cut them into strips. Use double layers and cut a long slit on either side of each piece. Then tie them on the grid in the middle with a simple knot. Even old chicken wire can be used for the base. But be warned - these rugs use up a lot of t-shirts. (I hope my husband does not find the missing ones!)

T shirt strips on frameCut into strips with 2 cuts

To make a neat seat or a rebound trampoline all you need to do is find an old car tyre. Then make some sort of strapping to create a strong platform. This can be done with old plastic packaging straps or thin rope. Cargo straps are sturdy and can be found wherever cartons and boxes have been unpacked. They are easy enough to thread through holes that you make around the rim of the tyre. A very sharp-pointed knife makes the best holes but adult supervision is needed for children. An electric drill makes these holes in a jiffy, should you have power tools available.Rubber holes close over, so you will need to poke the string through with a hook or pair of thin pliers.

make holes for stringString up add matting and cover

Have a look at these basic strapping ideas. You can thread across the straps to the opposite sides of you can make a circle and wind them around for a hollow centre. If you can’t find any strapping then use an old wash line or pieces of string. Now you can thread bits of rag or twine in and out of the spokes you have created. It will make a good sturdy base for a small trampoline. Or you can cover it with fabric or drape a blanket over it. If you like needlework, then crochet a woollen cover, using a looped treble stitch. Choose bright colours and make attractive designs. One tyre can be strapped underneath the top one to give a bit more height.

Strapping and weaving 100% recycledJumping ring

If you are lucky enough to find some old inflatable inner tubes then all you need to do is place a disc of thick foam rubber inside the hole in the middle. This makes a soft and very comfortable seat and doubles up as a cosy parking spot for a small baby. They can lie in it and kick around without rolling out. This is important when changing diapers! We furnished our first home with a huge version of this basic tyre cushion. We made it from the inner tube of a tractor tyre and it took me ages to crochet the cover but it was worth all the effort. It was our couch, we watched TV in. The “tube” was our love nest and served as a play pen and jumping castle for the kids.

This is what our first furniture looked like - 35 years ago!

The stool on the left is a hard tubeless tyre with a matting made from cargo straps, then covered with old carpet underfelt. It is also used as a rebound trampoline and takes a lot of punishment. On the right we have an inflated inner tube with a foam disc in the centre for a cosy effect.

crochet sun discSoft tube cushion

If you know how to thread the twine around the rim in loops like a dream weaver then do so. It is quick and efficient and does not even need to be covered. The tyre can be mounted onto legs made from pieces of wood or other recycled items. You can also add a solid round base to the tyre and attach some castors from an old office chair. This is fun to pull around with a rope for the kids.

upright chairDreamweaver jumpers

In the garden you can bury old car tyres to help with water retention when you are planting out large shrubs and trees. Some villages line their streets with old tyres filled with soil and colourful plants. We also see old tyres buried upright in the sand to surround race tracks and play areas. A worm farm is an interesting and very functional way to put an old tyre to use. As you can see in this example, a healthy worm farm never “tires” of converting kitchen scraps and wet garbage into valuable organic soil nutrients!

Worm farm made from old car tyres

Start them young with recycling trash

Fun With Recycling: 50 Great Things for Kids to Make from Junk
Amazon Price: $88.97 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 13, 2016)
Rubbish!: Reuse Your Refuse
Amazon Price: $19.99 $8.88 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 13, 2016)