With summer on its way, energy efficiency is about to go down as people turn up their air conditioners and the price of gas begins its steady incline. In many areas of daily living it’s very hard to go green during the summer months, but playgrounds can be an unlikely source of eco-friendly activity, and an opportunity to educate children about the importance of going green.
Rubber Mulch Flooring
Playground flooring comes in many forms, but there’s only one that provides extra safety measures and is environmentally conscious. Rubber mulch for playgrounds is made entirely from recycled tires that are non-toxic and renewable. The mulch comes in a variety of cheerful colors and three different forms, with rubber mulch chips, rubber bond, and rubber wearmats for areas of high impact. The added shock absorbency that is a factor in the nature of rubber helps prevent injuries in children as they tumble and roll while playing. When compared to the standard blacktop, gravel, and cement often found in playgrounds there’s no comparison. An added convenience is that rubber mulch requires no maintenance, with a long life of wear.
With Arbor Day and Earth Day barely passed, trees are on the mind. What better place to promote the care of, and plant more trees, than in a playground? An abundance of trees provides an abundance of clean air for children to enjoy as they play, and when used around the perimeter of the play area can also serve as a natural privacy fence. Planting trees in a playground serves a dual purpose: it helps educate children about the importance of trees, while playing an important role in providing clean air for children.
When deciding on playground equipment, there is a multitude of options available that can provide fun-filled play at a low cost to the environment. Choose equipment that is made from recycled steel and recycled plastic. Wood-based equipment should be treated with EPA approved methods and materials, and contain no PVC. There are playground manufacturers that specialize in eco-friendly products, but every company should be checked for authenticity. There is even a company called the Natural Playgrounds Company. They take the environment that is already present, and build playground activities into the terrain, incorporating preexisting natural elements into a challenging, fun, and eco-friendly experience.
Benches, Fences, and other Paraphernalia
The random paraphernalia that finishes off the perfect playground is often undermined in the face of playground equipment and the more integral structures. Every part of a playground can be made green by ensuring that the wood and materials used are EPA certified. For virtually every product available on the market there is a green alternative. It’s a good idea to find the greener way so that the entire playground is truly eco-friendly.
As a playground is being built or renovated, there are many ways to ensure that the entire process and materials used are eco-friendly. By doing it right, children can play responsibly all summer long.
Photo by Brian Leon