arditiww1 I have to disagree. I wouldn't know if rubber has the same ecological effect on aquatic life as plastic but if you are correct and they are same or worst, the erosion I mention was due to the granular nature of the soil. A hard surface such as concrete or asphalt is much more resistant to wear. For this idea to be successful it would need to have useful life of more than 20 -30 years. In such a case material released to the environment would be minimal, less than the wear from the original shoes that the rubber beads come from. That shoe wear all ends up in water courses. That shoe wear is dwarfed by the wear on car tires that also ends up in water courses. Several thousand tonnes a year.
I agree that we need to minimise our impact on the environment but real problem is with packaging in one sort or another. If this is a very bad idea then effectively you are suggesting we ban all plastics and then what do we do with that material out there at the moment. Landfill it were it will leach out?
Aakar I am glad you like the idea. With regards to the life of the product one would expect it to be in the terms of decades. Some dams are over a hundred years old and still with some of the original wave surfaces in place, abatedly patches or covered over. Concrete is the traditional material for these surfaces and is hard wearing but it does have a few disadvantages such as joints that can be subject to frost or thermal cracking and more recently a high embedded carbon content. An asphalt surface in general has the advantage of being easier and quicker to lay on a slope which is particularly helpful for refurbishing a live asset. The success will probably come down to the adhesion properties of the asphalt or matrix material. Then there are properties of the rubber beads which may or may not be beneficial to thermal expansion.
With regards to reuse or recycling, in the past this material, at the end of it life, would have probably ended up as landfill but waste regulations make this difficult if not impossible. The positive outcome is that demolition materials are typical ground up for use as hardcore to make temporary or lightly used road surfaces or as a cheap infill material. The rubber content may or may not make it suitable for hardcore but waste regulations are continually tightening such that it will probably be economically viable to separate the rubber beads from the holding matrix for reuse. As is increasingly the case future disposal costs are being incorporated into the final price and this may work against this material selection but on the plus side environmental considerations are moving up the agenda.
As to how the rubber is reclaimed is another matter. Probably some grinding or shearing action, it will depend on the nature of the holding matrix material. There again has a precedence been set in recycling any of the sports surfaces?