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Eco-friendly Playgrounds: Ensuring a Better Future


Sarah Jones

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In today’s world, threats to the environmental state of the nation are a very real issue. In addition, toxins and pollutants seem to be present in every aspect of one’s life. If children are our future, and the environment is crucial to our survival, it only seems fitting that the playground equipment be made in an eco-friendly manner. Washington D.C. has taken a lead in renovating playgrounds to be environmentally friendly.

Eco-friendly playgrounds indicate that the features are made from non-toxic, recycled materials that are in-line with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s playground safety codes. Here is an example of eco friendly playground equipment. Not only are these playground safer for those children and parents using the playground, these types of playgrounds should also take into account the safety of those building the playground and its features.

One element of such a playground that needs to be thought-out is how much weight the playground equipment needs to hold. It will be helpful to know how old the children who will be playing on the playground are and what their general size is. The playground needs to be age appropriate, with playground features for toddlers being different than features for young children and pre-teens. Perhaps the eco-friendly playground could have two separate sections for the different age groups.

The factors discussed above are true of any playground, eco-friendly or not. What makes a playground eco-friendly? The answer lies in the materials used. The materials need to be all recycled materials. One popular choice for such playground equipment is recycled rubber, either from old tires or the soles of sneakers. These materials need to be checked to make sure that they are non-toxic. Just based on the nature of the texture of rubber, this eco-friendly substitution for plastic or wood will create a safer space where possible falls will be less dangerous for children.

While it is true that the initial cost of such surfacing is more than traditional playgrounds, the upkeep and maintenance will be less over the lifetime of the playground. One should think of eco-friendly playgrounds as an important investment. They are not only a smart financial investment, but they are social and environmental investments as well. The factor of spending more money upfront may be a deterrent to some playground makers, but this extra initial spending is going toward ensuring that our children and environment are safeguarded for many years to come.

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