The Pros and Cons of Using Rubber Mulch

If you’re looking for a durable product to use in your hardscaping, rubber mulch might be the right choice for your project.

What is Rubber Mulch Made of?

Did you know rubber mulch is often made from recycled materials? Typically, the bits and nuggets of mulch are shredded tires. That’s why some rubber mulch has white nylon fibers in it. At Asphalt materials, you can choose from the following rubber mulch options:

  • Brick Red
  • Dark Brown
  • Jet Black

Our mulch nuggets range in size and price, and we always recommend seeing the products in person before making a final decision. Our colors may vary from what you see on our website, but our bits and nuggets are free from nylon remnants.

Best Uses for Rubber Mulch

You’ll find rubber mulch is popular in commercial landscaping. We see it used often as ground cover for children’s playgrounds, and it’s also a top choice for equestrian arenas and shooting ranges.

Rubber mulch can also be used for residential yards, whether it’s for a play area or a garden. Essentially, you can use rubber mulch anywhere you might use a bark mulch or stone ground cover. However, due to its weight and flexibility, it can be a better choice for some projects than organic materials.

The Pros of Rubber Mulch

Depending on your project, there are benefits to using rubber mulch vs a different type of ground cover.


Rubber mulch is non-porous, so it doesn’t retain the moisture that is meant for the ground it’s protecting. Using rubber mulch around plants means all the water will go to the roots under the soil, and won’t be absorbed by the mulch.


Like a plant-based mulch, rubber mulch acts as an insulator. It can keep the soil below up to three degrees warmer.

Reduces Dust

Putting down rubber mulch helps reduce how much dust is kicked up in open areas. Rubber mulch can weigh it down whether it’s a playground, walking trail, or an arena.

Provides Fall Protection

When applied under playground equipment, rubber mulch can provide fall protection. The Playground Safety Handbook outlines specifics for surfacing material, such as how thick the base layer and mulch should be for maximum protection.

Deters Insects

Bugs don’t want to eat rubber mulch, so you may find less of them in your garden or play areas if you switch to recycled mulch vs plant mulch. 

Deters Weeds

Like a plant-based mulch, rubber mulch can inhibit weed growth, especially when paired with a weed barrier underneath. Rubber mulch is heavier than wood chips, so it tends to stay in place longer, helping deter weed growth long-term.

The Cons of Rubber Mulch

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you may not be bothered by the following disadvantages of some rubber mulch products.

Doesn’t Decompose

Since rubber mulch is made from inorganic material, it will never decompose over time. This means if it strays from its designated ever, it will stick around forever. Being inorganic, there’s no possibility that rubber mulch will break down and offer nutrients back to the soil.

Not All Mulch is Non-Toxic

Do your research when selecting a mulch for your project, because not all mulch is non-toxic. The mulch we offer meets the International Play Equipment Manufacturer Association’s standards (IPEMA). Asphalt Materials’ rubber mulch is rated for public play areas based on size, consistency, and purity. 

It’s Obviously Rubber

If you’re going for a natural look in your garden or hardscaping, rubber mulch probably isn’t going to meet your needs. While Asphalt Materials’ mulches can resemble wood chips and pebbles in their coloring, they’re not a perfect match for organic materials. 

Disposing of Rubber Mulch

Since rubber mulch doesn’t decompose, how do you dispose of it? If you decide to remove it from your yard or commercial area, you have some options.

  • Contact a recycling center for rubber-based products
  • Dump it at a waste collection facility
  • Sell or donate the mulch
Asphalt Materials doesn’t offer recycling for rubber mulch, but we can help with other building material waste, such as asphalt, concrete, or brick. We try to recycle as many products as we can, whether you’re a professional or a do-it-yourselfer. Let us know if you have questions about the products and services we offer by getting in touch via (801) 561-4231, or online.