The thought of building shoes from recycled tires first entered my mind while on a jog by the Missouri River. Seeing dozens of tires and debris along the high water line was astounding to me. If there were that many tires along just one mile of river, how many would there be along the Missouri within the state...or the entire river?
In any given year, organizations like Living Lands and Waters ( http://livinglandsandwaters.org/ ) and the Missouri Stream Team (http://www.mostreamteam.org/) clean up thousands upon thousands of tires in addition to all sorts of other trash...plastic bottles by the boatload, entire cars, folding chairs, building materials. If you've never been to a cleanup in your area, I would encourage you to look online and find opportunities to get involved...even if it is just one afternoon a year, you would be surprised at how rewarding an experience with a local stream team can be.
Currently at Greendals, we can only use a very specific type of used tire in our production efforts, so we look to source from many locations (junkyards, tire recyclers, stream teams, etc) but our goal in supporting the Missouri Stream Team is not just to donate a portion of every sale to the organization, but to utilize as much waste pulled directly from the rivers and streams as possible.
Thanks for reading!