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.