Tires are among the world’s biggest and most sources. But as long as we drive cars, we’ll probably need rubber. So till we find an alternative to this modern-day essential, recycling and reclaiming rubber is vital to reducing our landfill waste. While tires and other rubber products have been recycled for sport surfaces and rubber shoes, they have seldom been applied in large quantities — till lately.
Today recycled rubber can be found in everything from furniture to flooring. Keen to decrease landfill? See here how you can use recycled rubber around your property.
The basics: The significant commercial source of natural rubber latex is that the para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). This tree is native to South America and was the most important source of rubber throughout most of the 19th century. Now Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia account for more than 70 percent of all natural rubber manufacturing.
Natural rubber is removed from the trees via a tap and hauled to factories. Synthetic rubber is created through a petroleum manufacturing process called polymerization.
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Both natural and synthetic rubber products can be recycled to form new products or to repair damaged ones. Fortunately, recycling rubber uses far less energy than producing new rubber, reducing the demand for new merchandise and preventing rubber tree plantations from expanding into sensitive ecosystems.
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Uses: Rubber’s elastic, durable and nonslip surface works nicely for flooring and tile products. Rubber can be used for garden mulches, landscaping, paving, sinks and even furniture.
The rubber coffee table in this picture looks great and keeps coffee mugs from sliding around also!
Experts: Recycled rubber is a hardworking antislip material, perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Now’s manufacturing techniques produce recycled plastic in a range of colors and textures, which makes it an easy match for virtually any design. Its ability to absorb and deaden seems makes it great for children’s playroom flooring and roof gardens, also.
Recycled rubber’s insulating properties make it perfect for landscaping; as a ground cover it can protect plants from frost. Softer than stone and concrete, it’s a good selection for child-friendly places.
Exterior rubber pavers have a lower embodied energy and absorb force much better than standard concrete versions. They usually contain a very high percentage of recycled plastic and require no glue or other chemicals to put in.
Disadvantages: Most firms who manufacture and sell recycled tire mulch for gardening condition that it’s completely nontoxic. However, some environmental groups — for example Environmental Human Health — have concerns about toxins leaching into the earth and impeding essential microbes from breaking down the ground for healthy plant growth.
Recycled rubber can also smell unpleasant if it’s hot, and certain applications can be costly.
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Factors: the total amount of postconsumer recycled content in plastic flooring fluctuates greatly depending on the manufacturer. Some use both recycled and natural rubber, so pay attention to content labels and search for a high percentage of recycled content that is locally produced.
Upcycling: Should you find yourself with a leftover rubber tire in your hands, consider using it outdoors for a planter or some good old-fashioned tire swing. Obviously, it’s not merely tires which are made of rubber. Fantastic planters can be made by those older gardening Wellies!