tires.jpg Timberland is taking a big step forward in the fusion of manufacturing, fashion and environmental consciousness. Thought of mostly for its classic work boots, the company’s newest release may seem a departure from its traditional specialty, yet it still ties into the niche it has carved themselves in the world of fashion. Timberland has partnered with tire manufacturer and distributor Omni to introduce a line of tires that are specifically designed to be recycled and repurposed into Timberland shoes once they are disposed of. Timberland has brought 20 different sizes of tire into the automobile market, and the tires have different warranties that start at 50,000 miles and cap out at 80,000 miles. Once drivers have run through the tires, they are to be returned to Timberland via a newly developed program in which the tires will be melted down and distributed to factories that produce Timberland shoes. This is not the first time recycled tires have been channeled into the creation of new products. In the commercial space, recycled tires are often included in a variety of asphalt and cement products. In the consumer space, recycled tires have served all kinds of purposes. Garden beds are sometimes designed using recycled tires to keep out any unnecessary water and prevent weeds from growing. There are even buildings that have been designed by architects and developers using recycled tires to help these structures achieve Gold certification by the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Construction companies have long used recycled tires to build walls for housing units. In Taos, New Mexico, Earthship Biotextures stacks tires on top of each other and fills in all of the remaining space with dirt. Once the tire stacks are densely packed, they use a finite vapor barrier to surround the tires for the structure of the wall. After the vapor barrier, comes stucco and layers of paint. When the process is complete, Earthship Biotecture has formed walls that will be sturdy, durable and, importantly, environmentally friendly. Other companies used recycled tires for more practical uses. Mr. Drip, Fiskars and Teknor Apex all use recycled tires to develop a sustainable household hose. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch, formerly American Rubber Technologies, created a picnic table completely out of recycled tires. No Fault Sport Group uses reused tires to make safe and sustainable playground surfaces. Arizona State University has even partnered with a couple of local organizations and research groups to create surfaces for tennis courts out of tires. Each and every one of these environmentally conscious ventures is changing the course of how we approach sustainability and repurposed materials as we know them. We can all do our part in a variety of ways, and supporting the performance of companies, manufacturers and organizations alike that strive for the same environmental protection that is near and dear to our hearts. Timberland’s newest release is quite forward-thinking, but it will surely not be the last development of environmental consciousness in the consumer sector.