The City of Windsor is putting rubber on its roads.
Years after the city chose to put artificial turf in some of its medians, it’s now using artificial mulch, too.
Made from recycled rubber, Rainbow Turf by Uretech, is now in five medians on Wyandotte Street East.
Mike Clement, the manager of parks development, said there were plenty of reasons to use the fake mulch.
"The medians are in the worst environment you can get for plant material because of the salt and heat and debris," he said.
"The other reason is for the safety of the workers. Putting workers on the medians is one of the toughest things to do for them and us. It’s a safer situation."
'Saves us money'
Clement didn’t know how many city workers are hurt each year while working in medians but said not having them there is safer.
The mulch cost the city $10 per square foot.
"It’s in five medians, so we’re into quite a few square feet," said Clement, who didn’t have exact numbers yet.
This is not the first artificial product Windsor has used in its medians. It put fake grass in on Dougall Avenue years ago. As well, the the mulch was used in a pilot project on Howard Avenue late last year.
"The material did well over the winter and so far this year, so we decided to use more of it," Clement said.
Clement said real mulch needs to be topped up every year and sometimes fully replaced.
"It definitely saves us maintenance, which saves us money," Clement said.
Made from tires
Brad Meyers is the chief operating officer of New Rubber Technologies in Tilbury, Ont., just east of Windsor. His company manufactures similar products and just recently entered the marketplace. He said the mulch, made primarily from recycled tires, can be used in playgrounds or landscaping.
"It is the best, bar none, loose ground playground surface for safety purposes, in my opinion," he said.
Meyers said rubber mulch excels in American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) tests. He said kids can fall from a higher height and at a higher velocity onto the rubber mulch when it's properly installed and not sustain an injury.
"You go further and this mulch product, if installed properly ... won't fade [and] will be healthy for your plant," Meyers said. "It actually provides a temperature control and a moisture-controlled environment, which is beneficial to most plants that are out there.
"It will not top seed with weed and weeds will not go through it when it's installed with a top barrier. So it becomes a maintenance free surface."