Right about now you may be retiring your salt-free deicers and Sno Wovel (or shovel and accompanying bottle of aspirin) in preparation for the messy side-effect of all those springtime showers: mud.

While there’s no easy way to combat mud outside of the home (mud happens, as they say), the most effective way to prevent it from making its way indoors, aside from having a dedicated mud room, is to lay down a couple of mud mats in your entryways. If you're on the market for a new mud mat and looking for one with serious eco and humanitarian cred, look no further than the Cass Mud Mat.

Cass Mud Mats are the product of Cass Community Social Services’ Green Industries Program, an initiative out of Detroit where illegally dumped tires — I have to wonder if Motor City has a higher-than-normal number of discarded tires polluting the cityscape — are recycled into functional mud mats while providing job training and stable employment opportunities to formerly homeless men.

Kicking off in the summer of 2007, more than 10,000 tires (a whopping 290 million scrap tires are generated each year in the U.S. by EPA estimates) have been recycled through Cass’ Mud Mat Program to date with no cost to the city. As of January 2011, more than 5,000 mud mats have been sold through the program.

And Cass' good green works certainly haven't gone unrecognized by the city: CCSS Executive Director Rev. Faith Fowler was the recipient of a 2010 Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leaders Award along with iconic furniture maker Herman Miller and several other eco-minded individuals and organizations.

Additionally, back in January 2010, USA TODAY Green House blogger Wendy Koch spoke to Fowler not about the Mud Mat program but about "The Green Gym," Cass' eco-friendly gym meant specifically for homeless men, women and children. The gym includes 10 stationary bikes that generate electricity to help power the warehouse that houses the Green Industries program.

The mats themselves are made from woven strips of power washed scrap tires (the tires themselves are collected from the streets and vacant lots of Detroit through city cleanup efforts) and colored beads. They are available in three sizes — small (18”x24” for $25), medium (20”x30” for $30), and large (24”x36” for $40) — and a variety of bead colors are available.

Interested in supporting the Cass Mud Mat Program and keeping your pristine floors mud-free this spring?

Head on over to the Cass Community Social Services webstore and order yourself a recycled tire mud mat. And if you're not on the market for a new mud mat, you can still donate to Cass Community Social Services, a truly fantastic nonprofit organization doing great things on the affordable housing and rehabilitation fronts in Detroit.

Mud Mat photos: Cass Community Social Services

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

A mud mat that matters
Tires dumped in vacant lots around Detroit are collected and transformed into durable mud mats through Cass Community Social Services' Mud Mat program.