I plan on doing a multi-part post about the whole belt making process, but until I do that here is a sneak peek.
These are some tires that need to be cut into belts. Basically, the sidewall of each tire is cut off to leave the flatter top portion. As you can see some of these are dirty; after cutting they are soaked in a bucket of hot, soapy water for a few days to loosen up any dirt and then they are run through the washing machine for a final cleaning.
Here you can see me in the process of cutting the sidewalls off. It's hard to see but I basically use a set of tin snips. Road tires tend to be thinner and easier to cut, the mountain ones can be difficult, especially if I have to end up cutting through the knobs. It gives the hands quite a workout, even after doing it for two years now.
Sadly, the whole tire can't be recycled, here is the pile of sidewalls that remains after cutting several tires. Still, at least there is less headed to the landfill.