Until transporter beams are workable, we’re still traveling via rubber on the road. That means lots and lots of tires. When they’re too worn, it’s off to the landfill. In the U.S. almost 300 million tires are discarded each year.
A company called Flat Tire Décor is doing something about it. They make clever, unique, and extraordinarily durable items from repurposed tires and inner tubes. We’re talking baskets, mats, purses, and children’s project kits. Everything is U.S. made, assembled in workshops that provide training and work experience to people with disabilities.
Their products include these adorable pouches made for vertical gardening on walls, fences, and railings. They’re easy to clean, designed for proper drainage and aeration, and perfect for outdoor use year after year.
Or what about soft, lightweight totes created out of reclaimed truck tire inner tubes? These bags are ethical enough for the most committed vegan, tough enough for a bike messenger, trendy enough for Milan fashion week. Okay, and great for everyday use as well.
Flowerpots by Flat Tire provide flowerpot-making kits from recycled tires. These are hands-on activities for children to promote environmental awareness. The kits can be purchased individually or in lots of 25 or more at a deep discount. They’re perfect for schools, homeschool groups, scouts, enrichment programs, and much more. There are downloadable lesson plans on the site too.
But Flat Tire Décor’s main focus is making a wide selection of baskets, from desktop size to firewood-holding size.
I had a chance to sample their products. My family crowded around when I opened the surprisingly heavy box. I had expected a product that looked, well, garage worthy. Not the case at all.
Their baskets are well made and distinctive. Because they’re fashioned from tires, each product has unique markings and character, making them truly one-of-a-kind. As their product descriptions note, you can run a basket over with an SUV without much harm. I’m pleased to have a Flat Tire basket holding family room clutter, but it would look just as appealing on the porch planted with flowers, holding fruit on the countertop, full of magazines by the couch, packed for a picnic, well, the options are endless.
If they could talk, these baskets might just be grateful to park after all the miles they’ve traveled. I’m glad to park one here.
Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending as well as Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm with her family where she's working on her new project, Subversive Cooking.com. and blogging optimistically.