As you probably know, rubber mulch is made from recycled tires. With over 290 million tires disposed of every year, we need to come up with increasingly clever ways of reusing or recycling them. Otherwise they just end up in landfill and that's not a good thing!
Modern tire compounds mean it would take thousands of years for a tire to fully degrade. During that time, they could leak into the water table, hold water destined for the land and many other bad things. The fewer we put into the ground the better.
Dallas Rubber Mulch recycles as many tires as possible, but rubber mulch only scratches the surface of what we can do with old tires. So what other uses can they be put to?
Ask anyone who lives near a highway about what the main downside is and they will inevitably say noise. That's why many states are starting to use absorptive sound barriers to line their highways. Shredded tires, concrete, cement and aggregate all make up these sound barriers to block sound and use up some of the millions of waste tires.
Not yet, but possibly soon, highways and road surfaces may include shredded rubber tires as part of the surface. Staten Island is running a project to assess how viable rubberized asphalt is as a road surface. A stretch of road on the island has been resurfaced using three different materials, traditional asphalt, rubberized asphalt and pelletized rubber asphalt. These will be assessed over the next year or so to determine their viability.
It may be hard to believe, but new railroad ties are using old tires as part of their construction. A steel core is surrounded by a concrete skin and then encased in shredded tires and plastic bottles. These ties are stronger, quieter and will last many times longer than traditional timber ties. They also lower the demand for wood.
Running tracks and other field elements are being increasingly made using bonded rubber from old tires. The tires are stripped of the steel, shredded into tiny pieces and are bonded using a special adhesive to produce running surfaces. The surfaces offer grip and a reasonably soft landing.
While dealing with old tires still presents a significant logistical challenge, the will is there to tackle it intelligently and responsibly. We all know that we have to change the way we live in order to preserve the world around us, which is why we work hard to promote rubber mulch as a product. If uses can be found for our waste, we can turn things around to make the world a much better place, without compromising our way of life too much. That's the idea anyway.