Have you ever wondered what becomes of your worn-out car tyres when you replace them with new ones? Having no proper platform for waste management, it is estimated that Kenya discards more than two million tyres annually, which are usually burned or dumped and can sometimes be inappropriately used as a fiery “necklace” to lynch criminals during mob justice.
Yet waste tyres can be recycled and transformed into better quality products with environmental value. Gabriele Buracchi, director of KMS, a social enterprise company, is giving life to recycled tyres and tubes while reducing pollution and dumping and burning of tyres.
KMS products maximise the potential of the tyres and create fashion items and daily use items such as poufs, table mats, handbags, shoulder bags and musical instrument cases.
The products are durable, versatile and tough. “The tyres and inner tubes are obtained from local markets and repair shops in Nairobi. Each product is unique as no two inner tubes are alike. Each tyre and tube is washed and cleaned with eco-friendly products, then assembled with sewing machines and by hand in the workshop,” says Buracchi.
Place mats and poufs
The place mats, coasters and oven gloves are durable because the tyre material makes them heat-proof and easy to wipe off grease stains. The tyre tube glove can comfortably hold the edge of a sufuria when cooking ugali and protect one’s hands from being burnt.
To give the products an African cultural relevance, the border of the place mats and oven gloves are made with batik while the poufs have leso fabric on the sides with a firm and stable top and bottom made from the recycled inner tube.
The poufs can either be used as a stand alone item in your living room, providing additional sitting space or doubling up as a foot rest. If you like you can use matching miniature scatter cushions to place on your sofas so that they balance off the style on the pouf.
The leso and batik borders can be made to add an African ambience to your space and reinforced to match the rest of the décor for lovers of environmentally-friendly products. You can get an opportunity to showcase the unique texture of recycled tyres and tubes.