Not everything you own needs to be brand new to be useful or beautiful.
That’s the message behind Re.Tire, a new Qatar-based startup that repurposes abandoned tires into colorful furniture.
The business was launched by Nada Mohamed and her colleague, Moataz Mahdy, in April, who have been repurposing old tires into chairs, pet beds, planters and tables.
The two Egyptian expats exhibited their wares this week during the Pearl-Qatar’s Eid show at Medina Centrale.
But trying to explain their message to people has been hard work, Mohamed told Doha News:
“We have to get the market warmed up to the idea. Not everyone in the country accepts healthy recycling.
They will tell you, ‘Okay this is cool, but I won’t buy it. I need a brand new thing.'”
Rubber slaps in the face
Though abandoned tires are plentiful in Qatar, fashioning them into something else is a long and tiresome process.
Mohamed researches and comes up with creative ways to reuse the tires, while Mahdy, a former engineer, uses his technical expertise to bring the designs to life.
Mohamed explained that the first step is to wash and clean the tire so that it is free from dirt and debris.
Then the tire is analyzed to see what it could be used for. Once the ideas are finalized, the shaping, cutting and snapping of the tire begins.
This, according to Mohamed, is the most difficult part since there is a lot of metal present within the tire that needs to be removed.
Also, the thick rubber has a tendency of snapping back in place, causing Mohamed and Mahdy to receive many rubber slaps in the face.
“But still, the fun part is making it,” Mohamed said, adding that the next step is the painting process.
The paints used for finalizing the product must be carefully chosen to ensure they are durable and sustainable in Qatar’s intense sunlight and hot weather.
Once the tire is painted, it’s ready to be showcased.
Entering the market
Re.Tire made its first public appearance at a local hotel exhibition of handicrafts in April, and received positive reviews, mostly from the expat community.
Its second exhibition was held at The Pearl during Eid.
Though most people have not yet quite warmed up to the idea of putting an old tire in their living rooms, some seem to be coming around.
And Mohamed said it is great to see that residents are starting to show an interest in startups that do not only focus on food and fashion. “It’s something that you actually produce,” she said.
One way that Re.Tire is trying to appeal to the market is by keeping their prices relatively low.
A “chill out” seat can cost anywhere from QR250 to QR350, depending on additional features that a customer asks for.
Having just launched a few months ago, the company is still assessing its market opportunities.
But the owners are hoping to get local authorities to support their endeavor.
“We hope we can get in touch with the government to raise awareness about recycling and reducing,” Mohamed said. “There’s other ways we can use tires rather than just putting them in the dumpsters, waiting for a fire to catch it and cause more pollution.”
Mohamed added that she hopes with the government’s help, Re.Tire can get permits to take tires from dumpsters, as well as work on creating gardens and other aesthetic outdoor pieces.
Meanwhile, her partner Mahdy has also started a company, Re.Pipe, that applies these ideas to create lamps and table posts out of old pipes.
Mohamed thinks there’s a lot more to be done for recycling and reusing for Qatar. She said:
“In Qatar, we have a lot of free time, people don’t really invest their time in doing anything. So just taking (a) few moments around and looking around at what we can (do to) develop ourselves and the country, would get us to a lot of other ideas. This is just one idea.”