Ever since Michelle Obama opted to install rubber playground mulch at the White House playground, rubber mulch has gotten a lot of coverage in the press—some positive, some negative. However, not too many media sources have taken the time to explain in plain terminology: Just what IS this rubber playground mulch stuff, anyway?
Rubber playground mulch is simply small chunks of shredded, recycled tires, with all remnants of tire and steel removed.
The manufacturing process is fairly uncomplicated. Worn out, unusable tires are delivered to tire recycling facilities, where all steel belting is removed. Industrial-strength machines then shred the tires into small chunks and granules. These granules are passed through a series of powerful magnets, removing all remaining traces of wire. Next, the chunks must be thoroughly cleaned. Finally, manufacturers may choose to dye the granules into a variety of colors, after which they are ready to be packaged for shipment.
The process is easy, safe, and straightforward, completed without utilizing chemicals or heat. The result is an easy, safe, and straightforward product, which offers optimal protection on the playground.