California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Tire-Derived Product (TDP) Descriptions and Case Studies

Playground Surfaces

Recycled tire rubber is used to make different types of attractive, high performance surfacing products designed for use in and around play areas. Compared with traditional products like engineered wood fiber, dirt or grass, these rubberized surfaces are typically:

  • Softer and safer, reducing injuries when children fall. Rubber surfaces in public play areas must meet ASTM F1292, Fall Height Standards and ASTM F1951, Accessibility Standard of Surface Systems.
  • Long lasting and durable. This reduces the cost to replace wood and sand play surfaces.
  • Attractive. Rubber surfaces come in a variety of colors, and some can be designed and installed to formed customized shapes and designs.
  • Americans with Disability Compliance. As of March 15, 2012, public playground areas are required to comply with new federal ADA design regulations.

Resources

Product Descriptions

Pour in Place
Pour-in-place systems are installed on-site, and provide a long-lasting, safe surface under and around play equipment. Recycled tire rubber is mixed with a binder and colorants to form a permeable, stable surface providing ADA accessibility in all weather conditions. With an endless variety of colors and patterns, these surfaces are highly customizable. The base of pour-in-place systems is usually made from recycled tires. While synthetic rubber is often used for the top, some vendors choose to use 100 percent recycled tire rubber to maximize environmental benefits.

 

Tiles
Unlike pour-in-place surfacing, tiles are modular and are made in the factory prior to installation. Tiles come in a wide range of colors and variations, and offer another safe, attractive, low-maintenance alternative to conventional materials like dirt, grass, or engineered wood fiber.

 

Loose Fill (Mulch)
Loose fill rubber playground surfaces consists of either nuggets about 1/2"–3/4" in size, or rubber bark about 2" to 3" long that resembles wood chips. Both rubber nuggets and bark provide a longer lasting, softer alternative to wood and sand. Both are available in a wide assortment of different colors and last approximately five years.

 

Synthetic Turf
Playground SurfacingSynthetic turf, a widely popular alternative to natural grass in athletic fields across the nation, is increasingly being used in many outdoor applications such as play areas. Synthetic turf consists of grass made from polymers, with recycled tire rubber used as infill and/or in underlayments to provide cushioning and a safe, appealing surface area. Synthetic turf resembles grass, conserves water compared to natural grass and lasts for 8–10 years.

 

Disclaimer: Product benefits and standards testing and documentation may vary according to specific products and vendors. CalRecycle makes no warranty, express or implied, and assumes no liability for the information provided in this website. References to individual businesses and their commercial products do not constitute an endorsement by CalRecycle. The information contained in this website is not complete, and is provided as a convenience to our website visitors and for informational purposes only

Last updated: January 27, 2016
Tire-Derived Products (TDP), http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Tires/Products/
Jennifer Caldwell, Jennifer.Caldwell@CalRecycle.ca.gov, (916) 341-6490