by Mistie Dawn
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation an estimated 18-20 million waste tires are created in New York state alone. That is a LOT of tires. That number is without calculating world wide waste and several decades of accumulation making tire waste a growing problem.
|The Associated Press|
Tires can be difficult to recycled due to their rubber content. Their vulcanized rubber doesn't melt down very easily making it costly to break them down. Tires are also very large and take up a lot of landfill space and can trap methane gas.
Excitingly, I have begun to see a few creative products made from recycled tires on the market. Everything from burning tires for energy (which can create other types of pollution issues), playground equipment, door matts, pots, house decor, wallets, messenger bags, handbags and shoes.
Enters TZandals.org, a company specializing in recycled tire products. Their focus is tire sandals made in Tanzania. Purchase proceeds go to help build a sustainable economy through micro-loans for other Tanzania entrepreneurs. These sandals are the most common footwear worn by the Maasai people, who travel long distances with their herds of sheep and cattle to find water. Due to their availability, durability and ability to protect their feet from desert thorns these tire sandals have become "traditional" footwear. Here are a few of the styles available which are hand made by TZandal crafts people.
|Kugesi Tire Sandals|
|Maasai Tire Sandals|
|Nyoka Tire Sandals|
Ruff, rugged and a very cool way to reuse tire waste and a great way to support entrepreneurship in a developing country!