Eco-rubber Pavers

When it is time to replace or build a patio or walkway, consider eco-rubber pavers. They are environmentally sound while being easier to install, more versatile and safer than traditional stone pavers.

Why are they better for the planet?

Most eco-rubber pavers are made from recycled tires that would otherwise end up in a landfill, where they would take decades to decompose. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 290 million tires are replaced each year, adding up to roughly one disposed tire for every U.S. citizen. Each country and region generates scrap tires that are easily recycled into pavers, reducing the energy costs of international transportation for heavy stones and bricks. Also, compared to energy- and pollution-intensive brick kilns and concrete plants, eco-rubber paver factories produce very little pollution and require minimal energy.

Why are they better for me?

Eco-rubber pavers are just as sturdy as other pavers made from new rubber and offer all the same advantages. They outperform stone pavers in many ways. Eco-rubber is lighter, softer, and easier to install than stone. It will not chip or crack, and is durable. A product review at Gardener's Supply reports the pavers withstand a cat's constant scratching.

Eco-rubber pavers are safer than stone. They are slip-resistant and offer cushioning, making them child-safe. They are softer than stone and cleaner than sand, so they are ideal for playgrounds and pool areas. They are also light enough for deck surfacing. The flexibility makes them easier on knees while kneeling during installation and in the garden. Stiff knees will also appreciate the cushioned walking surface.

Finally, eco-pavers are available in a wide range of colors that aren't typically found in stones, such as green and blue, and a variety of shapes and sizes including hexagons, circles, and squares with faux brick patterns.

Where can I get them?

Several companies sell durable, well-rated pavers made from 100 percent recycled tires.

  • Gardener's Supply Company has red and gray pavers in 16-inch squares for $13 each.
  • Clean Air Gardening sells versatile pavers that are red on one side and gray on the other. The one-foot-square pavers are $20 each.
  • Close the Loop , a specialty green remodeling company, carries a variety of shapes and colors. The Web site has a link for requesting specific price quotes.

Are there any drawbacks?

The main complaints about recycled rubber pavers are aesthetic. Some users dislike the shiny finish or unnatural tints of some brands. Others won't give up the traditional stone look. However, as the green movement spreads, recycled rubber tire products will surely become more common.

Get ahead of the curve and boost your green credibility with eco-rubber pavers. While setting the pavers, your knees and arms will thank you. For the duration of the patio or walkway, your children and parents will thank you for the soft cushioning.

Photo credit: Eco Floors

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