Tire-derived fuel ...
I didn't go so I'm not sure how it worked, but the Chicago Winter Bike Swap was advertising tire/tube recycling. Might check with those folks to see who they found to take them:
Phone: 847-877-1189, firstname.lastname@example.org
From the CDOT Bike Program website (http://www.chicagobikes.org/public/donations.php)
Liberty Tire Recycling
The General Manager at Liberty Tire Recycling has agreed to accept bike tires and tubes from Chicago cyclists.
1323 W Cortland St
Weekdays, 7 AM-3:30 PM
Simply enter the office door
Liberty Tire will charge 50 cents per bike tire and tube pair. If you have a "truckload" of tires, please call to arrange your delivery.
What happens to the tires and tubes? The tires and tubes are shredded alongside auto tires and shipped to a cement kiln. The cement kiln uses rubber to burn as fuel to reduce its use of coal. Rubber also has a higher BTU rating (burning efficiency) than coal and doesn't emit oxides of sulfur like coal. By being burned, tires and tubes don't have to be placed in a landfill (which is banned from many landfills) where it will pose many more risks to the environment.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has this webpage of Frequently Asked Questions about TDF, Tire Derived Fuel. We recommend you do your own research on BTU, energy use, tire derived fuel, and rubber recycling to see if this kind of tire reycling is the right method for you.
If you have any tips to improve bike tire recycling in Chicago, please call or email Steven Vance in the Bike Program, 312-744-0513.
I've also inquired with Lakin General (http://www.lakincorp.com/) but they also charge to recycle them. If anyone does find a place that will take them for free in Chicago proper please let us know. Thanks!
some lbs's have guys that come in and get them and then patch them.
I use them for bungee cords, tying things, etc.
tires ? not sure. I know running shoes can be donated and shredded and turned into playground