United States residents throw away enough tires each year to more than circle the globe. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 290 million scrap tires are generated each year in the United States. To compound the problem, anywhere from 1.5 billion to 3 billion tires are already piled on roadsides and in dumps and vacant lots.
Most states no longer let landfills take whole tires because they can capture gas and squeeze up through other garbage to break through the heavy clay layer used to cap landfills.
Uses for recycled tires have become as varied as imagination allows. Strips of rubber are cut into shoe soles and fabricated into mats for erosion control. Crumbed rubber becomes part of hockey pucks, road pavement, racetracks for people and horses, playground cover and custom soil mixes.
Add to this list rubber lumber for raised bed gardens. After several years of trial and error, modification and evaluation under field conditions at the Noble Foundation's Horticulture Center, raised beds constructed of rubber boards fabricated from used tire treads have proven successful in producing a variety of vegetable and floral crops.
While material cost is minimal, a fair amount of time and labor is required to fabricate rubber lumber. If hired labor is used for this task, the cost advantage of using rubber lumber in bed construction is lost.
Now, for the good news! Cost of material to construct a recycled auto tire bed, excluding soil mix, runs as low as 20 cents/square foot of bed, less than half the cost of a 1-inch by 6-inch treated lumber bed.
If you're looking for a raised bed design that will provide countless years of service, is low maintenance, safe, environmentally friendly, has a low material construction cost and is easy on equipment, this bed is for you!