Rubber mulch can be an effective tool to hold moisture to the soil and keep weeds and disease at bay. When it needs to be collected to allow for replanting, soil rejuvenation or for permanent removal, it is a straightforward if somewhat time-consuming task. You can choose between losing some top soil and a faster removal job or sifting the mulch from the topsoil and preserving the soil bed, which takes a bit more time but saves the soil and the cost of replacing it.
Preserve the soil content underneath the rubber mulch by shoveling the mulch into a commercial or homemade soil sifter over a wheelbarrow or other capture device. Make the sifter holes slightly smaller than the diameter of the rubber mulch pieces. Place several shovelfuls in the sifter, agitate to separate the materials, allowing the soil to fall into the catch. Once all of the mulch is removed, return the sifted soil to the bed distributing it evenly over the area.
Rake up the rubber mulch from the soil into small piles at even intervals over the mulched area. Use a shovel to scoop up each pile taking as little soil with you as possible with each scoop. Replace any soil lost from the area with fresh compost or potting soil.
Bag up the rubber mulch in heavy-duty garden trash bags to either reuse at a later time, gift to a fellow gardener or recycle if applicable in your area.