Kids are always on the move, which means as parents you need to provide them with interactive games and experiences to keep them entertained. Adding a playground structure to your back yard is a fun way to keep your children moving, especially during the summertime. However, if you are an eco-conscious parent, you are going to want to stay abreast of the green movement, too. Let’s talk eco-friendly playgrounds. What is an eco-friendly playground? When you were younger, you probably never considered such a thing. The playground you know traditionally included mulch or a grassy area equipped with a swing set, monkey bars and maybe even a clubhouse of some sort. Today, playgrounds are much more sophisticated, not necessarily in design, but more so in materials. In order to be “eco-friendly” the play area should feature nontoxic materials (e.g., 100% post-consumer waste materials and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood). From playground structures made from recycled plastic to ones made from recovered wood fibers, there are many different options to choose from. Some designs use recycled tires as mulch, which provides soft flooring, while others are even more advanced, with rainwater collection systems. You might remember a couple years ago when eco-architecture was used in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. A group of organizations donated $500,000 to build a sustainable playground. It consisted of solar-powered features, including local materials, recycled materials and water conservation systems for the Lower Ninth Ward. Providing a toxin-free environment for children to play is one of the highlights of eco-friendly playgrounds, along with the fact that these structures pose a lesser impact on the environment. Before 2003, nearly all of the wood used for playground equipment was treated with chromium copper arsenate (CCA) to ensure weather resistance. The arsenic in the finish leached into the soil and was even present in the children who played on this equipment. Eco-friendly playgrounds do a double-duty job of protecting children and the environment from harmful materials like CCA.
Eco-Friendly Playground Equipment
Parents concerned with toxins and unsustainable recreation options, rejoice! Playground manufacturers are producing green, healthful play places for today’s young’uns.