We (my wife and I) needed a new welcome mat. We wanted something that wasn’t bland and boring, but not corny or tacky. No ‘Hi, I’m Mat.’ or ‘Love Shack’ to greet our visitors. We were in the market for something simple and nice. We weren’t really thinking of recycled rubber tires, though.
We found the mat for us at Target in more ways than one (photo below). It is colorful, durable and easy on the eyes. I believe the word is cute. Add the fact that it’s made from 100% recycled rubber tires. It is a winner.
Recycled tires are also used as a cushioning material in playgrounds and other public areas popular with children. The rubber from recycled tires has been combined with other binders and foam to produce a solid safety mat for playgrounds and schoolyards. This is the case at General Butler State Park in Kentucky, where my family visited last month.
Recycled tires can also be used to form the rubber sole of some athletic shoes and work boots, raincoats, boots, umbrellas and hats. One recent use of recycled tires may become a trend in larger cities. Traditional concrete sidewalks can now be replaced with similar-sized panels constructed from recycled tires and other materials. Proponents of these new sidewalk panels claim they are more resistant to the damage caused by tree roots, and they provide more stability for pedestrians. While the current cost per panel is higher than traditional concrete forms, the new rubberized panels should require far less maintenance throughout their lifespan.
Since recycled tires contain oil and carbon black, two very useful substances, scientists are still seeking ways to retrieve these materials from discarded or recycled tires. If these researchers are successful in their quest, the huge piles of scrap tires we see in junkyards, landfills and elsewhere today will ultimately become nothing more than a memory. Recycled tires may provide enough reclaimed oil to make them worth salvaging, instead of merely discarding. That is will great for us all.