April showers have brought May flowers. Tulips and other early spring blossoms have brightened Alliance and Hemingford neighborhoods. By this time serious gardeners have already spent many hours preparing their beds and planting hardy crops.

When gardening and landscaping there is usually a combination of old and new. Last year’s soaker hoses and tomato cages are likely fine for this growing season. However, there are always new inputs such as fertilizer, seed and soil. Mulch falls somewhere in between. The material typically lasts for several years. People have a decision to make when it comes time to replace the material or buy some for a new project.

Keep Alliance Beautiful sells 100 percent recycled rubber mulch made from old tires. This is a green option for people looking to close the loop. The material has some advantages over more traditional wood or bark mulch. Rubber mulch takes longer to break down in your yard. In my experience, the type of rubber mulch provided by KAB lasts for more than a decade without any noticeable decomposition. The pieces of rubber mulch are also relatively heavy for their size and resist being blown around by the wind or washed away by summer cloudbursts. A tough steel-belted tire in a former life, the material makes a spongy layer conducive to applications such as filler for under the children’s playground.

To buy mulch from us first stop by the KAB office downtown on the second floor of the Bank of the West building. The staff will provide a ticket to pick it up at the recycling center. There are brown or red options. In the past few weeks we have had people buy anything from one or two bags to a pallet of 50 bags. For planning purposes prospective buyers should know each bag contains one and a half cubic feet of mulch.

Keep Alliance Beautiful is better known for gathering recyclable materials than for selling them. Rubber mulch has been an exception to that expectation for years. We are happy to meet a demand for this alternative landscaping material. It is important that diligent recyclers know there is a market for the materials they save everyday. Check the labels on products you buy to see which ones contained recyclables. Often the product will mention the percentage used in its production.

Though KAB does not accept tires, the Alliance Landfill and those in other area communities do take unwanted tires. Over the past 30 years grant funding has allowed hundreds of tons of tires to be collected locally for recycling as mulch and other products.

Maybe you like to buy recycled and environmentally friendly products but have never thought about mulch. Give it a try for a small area first. This could be a perfect fit.

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