Creatively reusing old materials is a great way to help save the environment from excess waste and solve another problem at the same time. One artist is using his upcycling skills to give homeless animals a cozy and personalized bed, all while cutting down on the trash on the streets of Brazil—one tire at a time.
Amarildo Silva first came across the idea while searching for a way to make some extra income using things people had thrown away. Silva enjoys making new things out of old things, and he was excited to turn a profit while cleaning up his neighborhood.
While he was on the hunt for supplies, he noticed that homeless animals in the area would often snuggle up inside tires for shelter. Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1, so Silva knew he had to do something to help these poor creatures no one else cared about.
Tires seemed like the perfect thing to upcycle, especially since they take a whopping 50 to 80 years to decompose if not recycled. Plus, the animals’ attraction to them demonstrated that they made good beds even without the added padding. So Silva began collecting tires to turn into pet beds for shelter animals and homeless animals. He also sells pet beds to pet owners in the area.
Silva stores the tires in his backyard when he finds them, and when he’s ready to work on one, he cuts it to the right shape, washes it, paints it, and decorates the outside with a fun design. Then he puts a squishy cloth-wrapped pad inside to give it an upholstered look and give the dog or cat a soft place to sleep. If he knows what shelter animal it’s going to, he takes care to personalize the tire with a name as well.
It’s been two years since Silva started this amazing project, and he’s already made hundreds of tire beds for pets in need of a good place to sleep. And it doesn’t sound like he plans to stop anytime soon!
Thank you, Silva, for your innovations and for helping inspire others to make the world a more sustainable place!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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