Group creating mud mats, jobs in Detroit - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Cass Community Social Services creating mud mats, jobs in Detroit

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A worker adds the finishing touches to the mud mats made from old tires A worker adds the finishing touches to the mud mats made from old tires

Cass Community Social Services in Detroit is turning a city eyesore into an eco-friendly, job-training opportunity by turning old, dumped tires into mud mats.

VIDEO: Watch the FOXe video report from Fox 2's Robin Schwartz or read the transcript below


Cass Community Social Services: (313) 883-2277

It's amazing what can you create with junkie old tires.

The art of making mud mats is a process that folks at Cass Community Social Services in Detroit have perfected, and they showed us how it's done.

Step one: a road trip to pick up raw materials. And sadly there's no shortage of tossed aside tires to reclaim.

"We picked up 20 tires. Yesterday we picked up 80. There's a couple different spots in the city of Detroit where we picked up thousands of tires at a time," says Geneal Martin, a forklift operator.

Next stop: back to Cass Green Industries inside an old warehouse, where the tires are unloaded and rolled in to get a whole new life.

As you can see in the video, the rubber is sliced thin, cut into strips and punctured. Then it's woven with colorful beads to make eco-friendly mud mats. It's a project that gives these fires a lot more mileage and creates jobs. This effort started in 2007 with five workers. Now 12 people who used to be homeless have steady paychecks and full-time jobs.

"If somebody hasn't worked for a while, if their education's been limited or if they don't have a reference or address or phone number, this is a great way for them to get back into the workplace," says Faith Fowler of Cass Community Social Services.

Over the last five years workers and volunteers have picked up thirty thousand tires at no charge to the city. New products are being planned with the tires for the future.

For example, the video shows an exclusive first look at a prototype for sandals that will soon be produced here using tire treads and seat belts. The University of Michigan helped design them, complete with the iconic "D" logo on the sole.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to see the sandal prototype

"It's not the Tiger's "D" but it's a "D" that sends the message it's from Detroit, made by people in Detroit, and the tag line will be "Leave Your Mark," Fowler says.

'Leave Your Mark,' a poignant message from an organization leaving its mark in so many ways: cleaning up our city, creating jobs and changing lives - and making our planet a better place.

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