SIDON, Lebanon: Remember the rubber playground floors where countless childhood days were spent playing? Well, these tiles were manufactured from recycled tires, and one Sidon activist is making sure the production keeps going. Tires in Lebanon are infamous for another use: They are often burned by demonstrators as an act of protest. Whenever a protest is expected and onlookers see smoke, they know a tire has just been burned.

But the practice has negative environmental and health impacts, a fact that prompted Ahmad Hikmat Shamseddine to put tires to another, more sustainable, use.

In southern Nabatieh’s industrial zone, in the village of Toul, is a small factory named OLA 3R, run by Shamseddine, which recycles used tires. The factory is one of the few that manufactures tiles for children’s playgrounds with used tires.