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Recycled rubber can be used in a variety of products to reduce the impact of rubber manufacturing and disposal on the Earth. The most common forms of these recycled products include rubber mulch, rubber flooring, and granular rubber. The granular rubber can be used in the processing of recycling tires.
Rubber mulch is a relatively new product, used in a variety of settings. The mulch is often manufactured from unwanted tires. There are varying grades and sizes of rubber mulch. Recreational grade rubber mulch is often used in playground settings and is generally smaller in size than landscaping mulch. The lower the certified percentage of metal in the recycled rubber, the safer the rubber mulch may be.
Recycled rubber can also be transformed into floor products. This flooring can be used both indoors and as an outdoor paving option. Outdoor rubber flooring is often produced to mimic the look of grass or pavers, while its indoor counterparts can be made to look like hardwood or colorful mats suited for use in a playroom or home gym. This type of flooring is often made in pieces, which interlock to create one large rubber mat.
Recycled rubber can also be ground into a granular form, to be used in a variety of products. Granular rubber is often used to repair worn tires or manufacture low-grade tires for use on outdoor equipment, such as lawnmowers and wheelbarrows. Also known as granulate, granular rubber can also be used in the production of shoe soles or floor mats, and in road construction.
Asphalt road construction is common in many western countries. While the material can be easy to pour and manipulate, the addition of recycled rubber can improve the overall durability and flexibility of the asphalt, thereby reducing the number of cracks and repair costs over time. Recycled rubber is often laid beneath the asphalt, allowing the road to move with the weight of passing cars and trucks.
Recycled rubber is graded depending on the amount of metal present in the products made from it. Generally, the two standards used in grading are exterior grade and premium grade, although there may be sub-categories of grading between these two designations. Exterior grade rubber products may have more metal in the mix than those constructed of premium grade recycled material. While exterior grade materials are often used in landscaping and road construction, premium grade is commonly reserved for flooring and playground material.
@EdRick - I like the rubber mulch, too. I don't know if you have any younger kids, but if you do, you might try the pacifier trick if your kid takes one. You stick the paci in their mouth before they go down to play; that way, their mouth is already busy and they're less likely to eat anything!
I really like recycled rubber surfacing for tracks. I used to run on one of these at a college near my house, but now I live somewhere else and have to run on asphalt. I really notice the difference on my joints! On the other hand, the asphalt is easier for pushing a jogging stroller than the rubber is.
I love recycled rubber playground mulch! It's not nearly as messy as wood mulch and it's softer.
The only catch is it's even more important to keep the little kids from eating it. When my son was a baby, he used to love to crawl around on the playground and he did tend to put mulch in his mouth (I would take it out, of course, but you know it is with babies!) Wood mulch is at least natural.
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