Playground mulch has been around long enough to prevent injuries from falls. Its springiness and shock-absorbing qualities have proven good enough for the White House playground, after all.
But what if the mulch is made not out of recycled rubber tires, but shredded sneakers? Will it make any difference? A lot of us are inclined to think that as long as something is recycled, it will get the job done. Let’s take a closer look.
Which came first?
It is hard to tell, but both have become relatively familiar in the mulching industry as recycled surfacing material. Owing perhaps to rubber’s resilience, the manufacturers of both kinds of mulches saw the industrial-level safety potential of these recyclable discards.
Is it environment-friendly?
Volume-wise, rubber tires probably make up a bigger percentage of recycled material compared to old rubber-soled shoes. The mere fact that both rubber tires and sneakers are recycled to turn into mulch is already commendable, at least on the environmental aspect. Imagine the tons of discarded tires and sneakers waiting to fill up our already-overflowing landfills!
What are their components?
Shredded rubber tires and shredded sneaker soles are typically turned into playground mulch. The process involves whole tires and sneakers, so some bits of leather from the shoes, and steel bands from the tires need to be removed. Fortunately, high-grade equipment allow manufacturers to do this so consumers won’t have to worry about potentially harmful components in their rubber mulch.
Which is safer to use?
One of the bigger disadvantages of shredded sneaker-mulch is that it can contain bits of leather. Leather can get slippery when wet, and it decomposes unlike rubber tire mulch. On the other hand, a concern surrounding rubber tire mulch is the possibility of wire still being embedded. Reputable rubber mulch manufacturers have been addressing this concern with state-of-the art magnetic technology to remove 99.9% of the steel bands. If the steel is removed properly, tire rubber mulch is hands down the better product.