Scientists estimate that rubber can take over 50 years to decompose naturally. The form of rubber and other materials involved can affect the exact amount of time for decomposition.
Rubber is commonly recycled because it takes so long to decompose on its own and takes up landfill space. In addition, rubber is harmful to the environment when it is burned because it releases dangerous and carcinogenic pollution into the atmosphere. Given rubber's importance as a global resource that is used in many industries, recycling it is of utmost importance. The use of rubber must be balanced with the protection and sustainability of the environment.