Rubber mulch is made from recycled tires. These tires are cleaned, shredded, and processed numerous times with the end result being a very attractive and more importantly safe product to use for playground surfacing. Rubber mulch provides the highest impact absorption rates per inch of height over any other playground surfacing material on the market today. It is readily available, comes in a variety of colors, does not take a professional to install or maintain and best of all will last forever.
By now most of us are familiar with rubber playground mulch, here in Tallahassee alone there are at least three public parks that have playground equipment surrounded by rubber mulch. When it comes to playground safety surfacing, there are a lot of products to choose from, we think that rubber mulch is by far the safest and most cost effective product over the long term for commercial playground surfacing.
Many people shy away from mulch as a playground surfacing material because of ADA accessibility concerns as well as a unsubstantiated belief that rubber mulch is a choking hazard for young children. When it comes to ADA accessible surfacing for a playground, rubber mulch meets all of the requirements. Unknown to most people, rubber mulch is available in what’s known as ADA rubber mulch. ADA rubber mulch consist of larger pieces of rubber mulch, that when compressed on top of each other provide a stable and flat surface for wheelchairs. The myth of children choking on rubber mulch at your local playground is not true. Rubber mulch is manufactured to specific size requirements specifically to minimize choking hazards, i.e. the pieces are either too small or too large for a child to choke on. If there were children choking on rubber mulch every day, it would be outlawed. That being said I am sure there have been instances when a child ingested rubber mulch, ultimately supervision is the key to preventing choking hazards on playgrounds.
While rubber mulch is definitely more expensive than wood mulch, it is far more affordable than poured in place rubber playground surfacing, both in materials cost and in labor. Rubber mulch is not affected by UV, insects or any other force of nature in the same way that wood mulch, or poured in place rubber is. All in all rubber mulch will be more affordable and easier to maintain in the long run than any other playground surfacing product available on the market today.