Mulch is a term used to describe anything that covers bare flowerbeds or other areas where raw soil would be undesirable. Most natural mulch is made of things like wood bark or straw, but recycled mulch is made of various waste products such as thrown-away plastic or sheets of paper. The most popular kind of recycled mulch is made from rubber tires, and it actually has many advantages over some natural mulches, especially for certain applications.
The basic purpose of mulch is to cover an area and keep weeds from growing. It also helps keep the soil from drying out. Some mulches have the added advantage of slowly decomposing into the ground and adding nutrients to the soil. Most recycled mulch products aren’t useful in this way, but paper products do have some potential to increase soil fertility.
Recycled mulch made from tires is very popular partly because of its effectiveness as a mulch and partly because old tires are considered a very serious environmental problem. They take up a lot of space in landfills, and they last for a very long time without decomposing. In general, people tend to recycle rubber products whenever they can, and recycled mulch made from tires has reportedly made a significant environmental impact.
Tire mulch typically has many advantages over traditional mulch materials. The rubber can be dyed into different colors and cut in a way that makes it look almost identical to wood mulch—unlike wood mulch, it lasts for several years. It’s also soft to the touch, and it can provide a cushioned surface for playgrounds or other areas where children might play. Tire mulch also doesn’t attract termites and other wood-eating insects, which makes it particularly good for certain applications. For example, people may prefer to use tire mulch near their homes because it can avoid attracting wood parasites that may eventually harm their houses in some way.
Newspaper mulch is also generally very common because people can recycle their own newspapers to make it at home. Some people will actually save old newspapers specifically for this purpose and use them in the growing season. Paper mulch doesn’t generally last as long as some other kinds of recycled mulch, but for some people, that is a secondary concern. It is fairly common for newspaper mulch to be combined with some other kind of mulch. In these situations, the newspaper will often be used for its weed growth prevention abilities, and then coated with another type of mulch for cosmetic purposes.