Is Rubber Mulch Bad for The Environment?

It is no secret that mulching is an ideal practice that benefits gardeners in many ways. Going by what manufacturers say, it is tempting to consider rubber mulch.

After all, it is said to be visually appealing and permanent. It is also safe for pets, flowers, and plants.

That said, some questions need answers before one chooses this path. For instance, is rubber mulch bad for the environment?

It ensures that you only use it if its advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Equally important, you can do what’s necessary to benefit the most from mulching.

Advantages of Using Rubber Mulch

Here’s a discussion of the good side of rubber mulch;

It is environmentally friendly

Annually, the number of waste tires can hit millions. That would be huge, especially if one considered the fire hazard these tires pose.

Its use as mulch has proven to be a great way of putting all this waste into good use. Instead of all of it ending up in landfills, it goes towards helping gardeners enjoy the many benefits of mulching.

Besides eliminating this massive waste, it spares trees that could have been used to mulch. So, rubber mulch will preserve the environment in several ways, thus making the planet a better place to stay.

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You Don’t Need Much Rubber Mulch

If there are two gardeners and one chooses organic material for mulching whereas the other settles for rubber, one thing will be evident. The former will require more than the latter.

The ideal depth of organic mulch is 3 inches for excellent results. On the other hand, one needs 1.5 inches of rubber mulch to serve the purpose.

Consequently, a garden needs less rubber than if he chose organic material. That could save a substantial amount of money, time, and mulch.

It is Easy to Maintain

It is another aspect of rubber mulch that could help a gardener save money and time. What do you expect when dealing with material as durable as rubber.

Its durability makes it useful for a relatively long time. So, you don’t need to replace it often, and that’s how you save money and time.

Several Designs Ideal for Landscaping

If you use rubber for mulching, expect a great aesthetic appeal. The variety of designer colors and earth tones does the trick.

It gives gardeners options that could blend excellently to change a landscape. If you are wondering about its counterparts, such as colored wood, they aren’t as good as rubber retaining those colors.

For instance, rubber can retain color for a decade. On the other hand, wood and most alternatives lose it quickly.

It is Hardly Displaced

One common issue of organic mulch is displacement. Sometimes, even heavy rainfall is enough to wash the mulch away.

However, that’s not a common concern when using rubber mulch. It stays put for a long time, especially since it is heavier than water.

It Can Last for a Long Period

Again, its durability ensures that rubber mulch lasts for a long period. It takes years for a need to replace it to arise.

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Under such circumstances, you won’t spend much money buying a replacement. Besides, you won’t use much of your time replacing mulch often.

It Discourages Fungal and Weed Growth

It is no secret that rubber doesn’t absorb mulch. For this reason, it is suitable for preventing any fungal growth among plants.

Similarly, no weed can thrive on it. So, using rubber mulch is similar to hitting two birds with the same stone.

It Keeps Insects Away

Many insects live in wood and soil. Therefore, if you use wood mulch or leave bare soil, there are high chances of an infestation.

For example, termites and ants will most likely camp there. However, that won’t be the case if you go for its rubber counterpart.

These insects won’t bother building habitats on such material. It will also be hard, if not impossible, for them to gnaw or destroy the rubber.

Great Heat Insulation

During hot summers, mulch plays a significant role in insulating the plants from the heat. Whereas there are various mulching materials, rubber tops the list of great heat insulators.

Disadvantages of Rubber Mulch

Whereas rubber mulch has a good side, here are its drawbacks.

  • Rubber mulch neither feels nor looks organic
  • Since its manufacturing involves chemicals, using rubber mulch could do more harm than good to your plants
  • Don’t expect it to decompose since it is inorganic

So, Is Rubber Mulch Bad for the Environment?

Considering the significant role it plays in disposing of tires, rubber mulch is good for the environment to a great extent. However, its properties water down these benefits over time.

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That’s because it contains harmful chemicals that could even destroy your plants. They also don’t decompose; hence, they are not that good to the garden you use them in.

It is important to note that the consequences of some of its components are usually severe. Excellent examples are molybdenum zinc which is in high levels in the rubber mulch.

Using it for mulching increases their exposure. Consequently, the results are usually negative because of such excessive exposures.


Is rubber mulch bad for the environment? Looking at the advantages of rubber mulch, one would argue that using it is a solution to a crucial environmental concern.

After all, it handles bulk waste emanating from the tires disposed of from this expansive industry. People appreciate this aspect, no doubt.

However, anyone looking for its effects in the long term will disagree. One would say without fear of contradiction that rubber mulch is bad for the environment, especially after some time.

As alluring as its advantages are, they are only good short time. So, one may enjoy today only to cry tomorrow, which isn’t something worthwhile eventually.

What’s the need for the rubber mulch insulating your plants from heat only to harm the with toxic materials? In the end, you lose what you were trying to protect.

So, it would be better to consider these facts before choosing this mulch. The fact that it is inorganic and hence doesn’t decompose only means that one is delaying the tire waste problem and not solving it altogether.



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