You're used to recycled paper, recycled cardboard, recycled plastics, maybe even recycled paint...but how about recycled mulch?
Now, that may sound kind like repetitive redundancy, since all mulch is, by definition, recycled. But this type of mulch was never organic in the first place, unlike most mulches you see at Home Depot. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
What's it all about?
Recycled mulch isn't particularly organic, but it's made from something that was once organic: rubber tires. As you may know, most rubber comes from the latex sap of a South American tree, and consequently makes the black stuff we all know and love through some arcane process still pretty much a trade secret.
It becomes mulch when the old tires are shredded and reprocessed, often with some coloring and texturing done to make it look like bark or wood mulch of a variety of types. But it ain't, not by a long shot.
But then again
That's not to say there's anything bad about rubber mulch, not at all. Many benefits exist in using recycled rubber for mulch. It mostly works just like organic mulch; the only thing it doesn't do is rot down into nutrients for the soil like bark or wood chips can. But honestly, that's not that big of a deal.
Otherwise, it does all the things mulch normally does: it helps retain soil moisture, protects the soil from erosion, keeps down weed growth, and makes your flower beds look pretty.
Why it's better
In many ways, rubber mulch is simply better than organic mulch. For one thing, the materials released as natural mulch decomposes can change the pH of the soil, harming your plants. That can't happen with the rubber variety.
In addition, some natural mulches contain toxins, and quite a few attract nasty little buggers like termites and carpenter ants. Furthermore, some natural mulch encourages the growth of fungi and mold causing allergies. You don't have to worry about any of these things with recycled rubber mulch.
Artificial mulch is not only made from 100% non-toxic, non-allergenic rubber, it's five times heavier than most mulches. So what, you ask? Well, what happens when it rains really hard? Does your mulch erode or float away, hmm? Rubber mulch will stay put, even during a flood.
As you know, laying down natural mulch is a yearly occurrence, because the stuff rots, compresses, fades and just plain starts to look ugly. Not the rubber stuff. It'll stay just as it is indefinitely--for years and years. So tell me: over the long run, wouldn't you say recycled mulch is the better bargain?