How to Make Recycled Rubber

What You'll Need
Old rubber
Spray paint
Safety glasses

Recycling in the garden is important but have you ever considered recycled rubber as mulch? It can be done quite easily and it really does work very well as a mulching substance. In some ways it's actually better for the garden than traditional mulch as it reduces the growth of fungus and weeds as well as allowing water through an insulating the plants well.

Step 1 - What Rubber Can You Use?

You can use most types of rubber to make recycled rubber. Bicycle tires and inner tubes are ideal for recycled rubber but you can also use car and motorcycle tires. Before you can recycle them, hover, you do need to remove the steel belts in the tires.

In order to do this you should put on heavy gloves and your safety glasses and then take pliers and a chisel to work out the steel belts. Be aware that this can be a time-consuming process so take your time. You need to be certain you have all the steel removed before you move on. If you wait until you have a fair amount of rubber before you begin the recycling process you can take care of everything at once.

Step 2 - Shredding

To make recycled rubber you need to properly shred the rubber. The simplest way to do this is by renting a good industrial shredder, although you'll need to make sure it's one that's certified for use on tires. With a knife, cut the tires into sections that the shredder can handle and then feed them in. Have a tarpaulin spread on the other side to catch the recycled rubber.

If you can't rent a shredder you can still cut the rubber into pieces about 1 inch square using a knife. This will take a long time however, and you'll need to keep sharpening the knife. The job will be a great deal simpler and quicker if you can manage to rent a good shredder to do the work for you, and the pieces of rubber will be much smaller and better to use as mulch in the garden.

Step 3 - Painting

Before you can use the recycled rubber as mulch it will need to be properly covered in spray paint. Choose a paint that's meant for rubber and spread out the recycled runner on the tarpaulin. Spray one side of the rubber and allow it to dry. After that, turn the rubber over and spray the other side, once again give it ample time to dry.

Step 4 - Application

If you're using recycled rubber as mulch around plants you will only need to apply about half as much as you would with normal mulch. When used on pathways or around play equipment, apply a good thick layer to give softness and springiness to the ground. It's been proven to be very effective in breaking falls.