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Homeowner receives warning after considering common yard material: 'Basically toxic waste'

"It releases unpleasant chemicals as it's broken down by sun and age."

"It releases unpleasant chemicals as it’s broken down by sun and age."

Photo Credit: iStock

A homeowner who was considering using rubber mulch around their house to brighten up a dull color palette received stark warnings about the dangerous material.

"Tired of everything around this house being blah, beige/gray/white," they wrote in the r/lawncare subreddit. "Looking for some ideas for some contrast. Bright colored plants just don't seem to help, either. I think if I see more river rock around my house, I will scream, lol."

The problem was that they had used brown wood mulch in the past; it popped but lasted only a year before fading.

"Would brown rubber mulch be better…? Would it fade…? I'm sure it would fade, but hopefully not as fast as the wood mulch did," they added. "If you've worked with brown rubber mulch or if you have/had it in your yard, or you know someone who does/did, please tell me the good, the bad, the ugly aspects about it."

Redditors to the rescue.

"Rubber mulch is basically toxic waste foisted on unsuspecting consumers," one commenter said. "It releases unpleasant chemicals as it's broken down by sun and age.

"The best thing for your landscaping plants is undyed shredded wood mulch. It enriches the soil and replaces trace nutrients."

The poster's landscapers recommended sticking with the rocks, but the poster didn't like the monochrome look they produced with their beige house, gray roof, and white window and porch railing accents.

It's also possible the poster hadn't found the right plants. Native species offer an array of showy flowers, vibrant fruits and seeds, and colorful seasonal changes. They also help reduce your water, fertilizer, and pesticide usage, keeping money in your wallet.

The most important thing was for the poster to stay away from rubber mulch, which is made of shredded vehicle tires. That means it can contain steel wires. Over time, rubber mulch leaches chemical toxins into the environment, including gases that cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses, kidney problems, and depression.

One commenter noted there are wood mulches that repel insects, including cedar and eucalyptus. Another said pavers could provide the variety they were looking for.

"Just stick with real brown or black mulch," someone else wrote. "I usually replace/add to mine yearly. I get it from a local nursery. Make sure to get the triple shred. There are also safe mulch dyes to refresh old mulch. Rocks arent my jam and rubber mulch smells horrible and is bad for the ground/plants."

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