Make Sure You Recycle Responsibly in the Garden

We are always being urged to recycle responsibly these days. Gardening is an ideal way in which to Reuse, Recycle and Reduce, from composting, to growing seeds and building raised planters. It is never too late to encourage your child’s green fingers or introduce them to sustainable living.

Reduce, reuse and recycle are three tenets that promote sustainable living. They help decrease the amount of waste we throw away and that ends up in landfill. You can make many changes in your daily life to reduce the amount of waste you produce, and live more sustainably. Your local council will have ideas on their website, and check out Another Way website for other genius ideas.

Garden Planters – Are Old Tyres Safe to Use?

But Back to gardening. One of the things I have seen people do is use old tyres for growing flowers and vegetables. I have a wooden raised be that I made from old scaffold boards about 5 years ago. Sadly, they have not rotted away and need replacing and I don’t want to be faced with the same task in 5 years time. Old tyres seems a neat solution…but I had to ask myself are they that environmentally friendly?

I had to ask the question “Are old tyres in the garden a danger to your health, or a responsible and eco-friendly solution to a real pollution problem?” Having Googled that vey question I discovered that it all depends on your standpoint. Ultimately, using old tyres in the garden is a hotly debated topic, with both sides making passionate and convincing arguments.

Official Guidance?

Again I love to investigate things thoroughly, something we need to encourage in our children- a natural curiosity, even if you know the answer to a question try to not respond straight away, rather encourage them to think about it first, then get them to look it up. Having searched the web there doesn’t seem to be any official stance, and there are still many people out there suggesting us to “go for it!” whilst there are just as many outlining the dangers. Here are some of the thought I found:

Is It Safe to Grow Food in Tyres?
This question is at the heart of the problem. Both sides aren’t arguing whether it’s tasteful to use old tyres as garden planters (many proponents will tell you they think they are ugly and have no place in a garden or allotment) but whether or not they’re leaching out harmful chemicals into the soil and, therefore, our food.

Are tires toxic?
Simply put – YES. Tyres contain a myriad of chemicals and metals that should not be allowed to enter the human body. Tyres do gradually erode and break down, leaching those chemicals into the environment. It’s because of these pollution concerns that it’s so hard to dispose of old tires legally. You even have to check if your local dump will take them.

Are Tyres Good Planters?
An argument for growing vegetables in tyres is that their degrading process takes such a long, long time. and that a lot of the gases and chemicals dissipate whilst the tyres are on a car, so that by the time they end up in your garden, the tyre is breaking down very slowly, more on a scale of decades, therefore the amount of chemicals that end up in your food is probably negligible.

The downside is that the levels of that leaching are not known yet. The general consensus is that while growing vegetables in tyres might be fine, it’s probably not worth the risk, especially when there are so many safer alternatives. In the end, however, it’s up to you. It looks like I am back to scouring Facebook Market Place for large boulders to replace my rotting boards!

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