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Gardener issues PSA about health hazards of using old tires in garden: 'I certainly wouldn't risk it'

"Over time, this could pose health [risks] for gardeners or those consuming the produce."

"Over time, this could pose health [risks] for gardeners or those consuming the produce."

Photo Credit: iStock

Getting creative with gardening can be fun and helpful for the planet when it involves repurposing items that would otherwise be wasted. It's important, however, to be aware of how that repurposed waste could affect the soil around it and your plants. 

In a Reddit post in the r/gardening subreddit, a user shared an article from NC State that detailed the ways old tires can be harmful when repurposed for gardening. "Old tires leach petrochemicals, rubber compounds, and all kinds of heavy metals (including mercury and lead) into surrounding soil and groundwater," the Redditor said.

According to the article: "Over time, this could pose health [risks] for gardeners or those consuming the produce." The article also suggested alternatives for a raised-bed garden, including concrete, bricks, and stones, or even simply mounding the soil.

Any of these options or other environmentally safe choices could be a great addition to your garden, without the downsides of using old tires. Gardening offers many health benefits such as stress relief, exercise, mood boosts, and producing healthy food, so if you haven't started a garden yet, why not give one of these methods a try and get started today? 

One of the best money- and time-saving gardening options is rewilding your yard. Native plants conserve water, thus cutting down on water bills, and they require less maintenance to keep up. They also often don't need costly fertilizers or weed killers.

Native plants also create a healthy environment for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which is important since they help protect our food supply. 

If plants and gardening aren't quite your style, consider installing a natural lawn. Options like clover or buffalo grass offer the same money- and time-saving benefits and are also great for the environment. Even a partial lawn replacement helps to lower water bills and nurture our planet.

While there are some creative and safe things you can repurpose in any kind of garden or lawn, tires shouldn't be one of them. 

"We wouldn't ever plant veggies in tires," one Redditor said

Another user added: "I certainly wouldn't risk it for vegetable gardens."

After one user questioned how to properly dispose of tires, another replied: "In general (if not recycled), used tires are disposed of in special landfills with impermeable linings, leachate from which is also treated and disposed accordingly."

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