Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Recycling, It’ll Put A Bounce In Your Step!

According to the Associated Press, a Philadelphia city councilman wants to look into using sidewalks made of rubber. Apparently they are more environmentally friendly (is that truth convenient or inconvenient, I wonder), last longer than concrete and do not crack. They would be made of recycled tires and could also provide a surface that wouldn’t cause as many slips. This of course would lead to fewer lawsuits against the city. Now what city council wouldn’t be in favor of that?

I wonder if they’ll leave the tires’ cool tread patterns intact when they create the sidewalks. That would sure make channeling rain or spilled beverages away from the sidewalk’s surface easier as well as increase speed walkers’ grip. However, tires are black and my simple mind can’t stop imagining black sidewalks in the middle of summer. That might make it a little hot to ‘tread’ on. Also, what if the rubber softened or became sticky in the heat? Then everything from pedestrians’ shoes to dirt and trash would permanently become part of the sidewalk, not to mention little trophy dogs. It could be our 21st century version of prehistoric tar pits. Thousand of years from now people will tour our rubber sidewalks to learn more about us by the debris that became stuck to them during hot weather.

“Here is a littered Starbucks coffee cup. Believe it or not, there was once a time when Starbucks coffee shops were only on every other street corner. Oh and across the street appears to be a coupon for a McGriddle sandwich from McDonalds.”

Although the story says the sidewalks would be very hard, we used the rubberized faux bark made from recycled tire pieces in Lucy and Ethel’s play area and that stuff makes walking a pure joy. The minute you step onto it, you feel the difference. It almost feels like walking on a spongy mattress like surface. If there was a way to make the sidewalks feel like this, it might be easier to promote walking for exercise. Plus, the better the bounce, the easier (and quicker) it would be to get from place to place. Seriously, this stuff is a pleasure to walk on. I was tempted to rip up the carpet and tile in the house and replace it with recycled rubber, but then was reminded how badly the house would smell when closed up for a day or two.

I’m all for recycling and believe we should find other areas where recycled material can be utilized. No, I do not mean recurring gags like spit takes or blonde jokes, although those are recycled quite liberally. I mean recycling things we use everyday into well, things we use everyday…just different things. Oh heck, you get the point.

How about recycling my fake wood laminate desk at work into stairs for retirement homes? I’d be more than willing to make that sacrifice, believe me. My office phone could be broken down and recycled into PEZ dispensers or some plastic medical device and my cubicle walls could be shredded and used to insulate attics. They already insulate me pretty well from my coworkers, so I’m sure they could be used successfully in a home. I guess recycling all these things wouldn’t really do anything for the environment, but it would eliminate my workspace and do wonders for me. And from where I sit, although it’s a bit selfish, that is the most convenient truth of all. Hey, that reminds me, I’m open to recycling my office chair, too…


R2K said...

Hi I just wanted to invite you to participate in my 3rd Caption Contest:


Abigail S said...

I used to work at a day care where there were rubber chunks on the playground, insead of wood chips. It was AWESOME to walk on!

The only problem was that it made your shoes black. And if the kids fell, their clothes turned black. That wasn't too cool.

CSL said...

It does sound nice and springy, but I'd wonder about the meltiness (I'm aware that's not actually a word), too. I took one of those Barefoor Cruises in the West Indies a few years ago and the sailing ship had been made in the colder weather of Holland - the tar used to seal the ship just became sticky in the Carribean heat and everyone had black feet by the end of the trip.

Michael C said...

R2k: I'm there!!

Abigail S: Yes, we have discovered just how dirty it can be. Especially when my twins start to pick up every single chunk to find the tire writing on it!

CSL: Yo Ho Yo Ho, A sticky life for you. I can only imagine how bad that was!

Odat said...

Oh good, instead of jogging, I could bounce! That'd be great!

Meloncutter said...

If I remember right this is not a new technology. I know af many high school tracks that have had this done. hmmmmm. Now I am curious.

Dang it!!! You got me thinking.

I hate that.

Later Y'all

etain_lavena said...

I cannot see how that would work, but hey if they have money too waste!
You are so so caring giving up your office furniture for the greater good.:)

mist1 said...

I don't believe in recycling. I tried to recycle a boyfriend once. It didn't work out and I've been against recycling ever since.

cmeissen said...

Scrap Tires are a vulcanized material. Unless the sun/heat reaches temps over 500 degrees, there is no need to worry about them melting. Typically, rubber walk ways are painted, such that the black color doesn't attract heat.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

whew! as long as it's tires, you scared me at first michael!

smiles, bee

Natalie said...

I really think this sounds fantastic. The only sad thing would be that if it doesn't melt o one will be able to write their names in it.