Playgrounds that Celebrate Earth Day, Everyday!
Recovering yesterday’s plastics for today’s play.
From the very beginning, Play Mart has believed in protecting our environment for our children today and for generations. So we’ve committed to doing our part to make our materials and manufacturing process Earth-friendly. What better way to fulfill that commitment than to recycle milk jugs that would have ended up in landfills and oceans and turn them into playgrounds?
Did you know that according to the environmental protection agency, the average American produces 4.9 Lbs of waste a day! That adds up to 292.4 million tons daily, most of which goes into landfills. While most of us participate in a waste recycling program, without a market for recycled materials, the programs simply delay the day potentially reusable materials hit the landfill.
Our concern for environmental issues and our commitment to the environmental movement have motivated us to be part of the solution to the recycling dilemma: what to do about plastic pollution. We have found that the very attribute of plastic pollution, that is, its long life in the environment, makes these materials excellent material for long-lasting and safe playground equipment. So, whenever you or your children play on our playground, study on our outdoor classroom products, or enjoy lunch on our picnic tables, you are helping us help the earth be a more sustainable planet. Thanks for your participation with us in the green economy.
We Make Recycled Plastic Playground Equipment
In fact, the properties that make plastics so hard to dispose of also make them an excellent material for commercial playground equipment. As you will learn below, the plastics we use in products like milk jugs have a natural life measured in centuries. As a result, we have invested in the resources needed to reuse this plastic to make safe and durable playground equipment that you can feel proud to have in your local daycare, park, school, or other playgrounds.
We purchase more than a million pounds of raw ground post-industrial HDPE plastic every year. Then, we add UV protection, coloring, and other ingredients to the material and extrude it into the recycled plastic lumber, which becomes the structural members of our playground equipment. The result of procuring reclaimed plastic helps support recycling programs in local communities and contributes to our commitment to “do the right thing.” If you share the same commitment, please learn about our infant early play and youth playground equipment lines. We would be proud to be your playground equipment manufacturer of choice and support your community’s and its children’s health with green playground equipment. We know your children will enjoy your commitment to providing safe, stimulating play spaces.
- Scientists estimate that a single plastic bottle will take 450 years to degrade in the ocean. Not to mention the harm it could cause to ocean animals and humans during that time.
- An estimated 583 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2021.
- According to the EPA American landfills are filled with 26.82 million tons of plastic annually.
- About 500 billion plastic bags worldwide go into landfills and only 3.5% are recycled
- According to the EPA, the average US resident uses approximately 315 plastic bottles each year.
- At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Lots of other countries lack the infrastructure to prevent plastic pollution such as sanitary landfills; incineration facilities; recycling capacity and circular economy infrastructure, and proper management and disposal of waste systems.
- When plastics end up in landfills, they aren’t harmless. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.
Today’s Discarded Milk Jugs Can Be Tomorrow’s Recycled Plastic Playground Equipment
Instead of plastic waste going into landfills, HDPE (High-density Polyethylene) can be recycled. HDPE is the type of plastic that is used in milk jugs, detergent containers, water jugs, shampoo bottles, some plastic bags, and more—look for the little recycling triangle with a number 2 in it. While this HDPE can’t be recycled into a new milk jug, it CAN be safely recycled for a variety of other uses. At Play Mart we use recycled plastic to make commercial quality playground equipment.
Play Mart Playgrounds: Plastic Recycling Process
The HDPE plastic we source comes primarily from milk jug manufacturers’ problematic materials. (Learn more from one of our sourcing partners.) For instance, if a jug isn’t completely finished or accidentally touches the floor (per FDA regulations if a jug touches the floor during the manufacturing process it cannot be used for milk), typically these would be landfilled. We intercept this material before it is sent to a landfill to use in our playground equipment manufacturing.
The HDPE source materials that go into our customized formula utilize only post-industrial milk jugs we specify with our vendor partners. The precise materials that make up our RSP have been rigorously tested for structural integrity and durability.
We’ve invested in proprietary extrusion processes. The HDPE regrind material is enriched with strengthening agents, UV protection, and colorant in our proprietary formula resulting in a superior Recycled Structural Plastic™ lumber. This RSP lumber is designed to have a low impact on the environment. In addition, it is safe for children and long-lasting.
Recycling as a Policy
A large part of the lumber HDPE content comes from our own manufacturing waste that we reuse and recycle. All of the scraps and trimmed materials used in manufacturing are recovered and reground for extruding the plastic lumber. Our internal recycling efforts have allowed us to cut in half the amount of additional plastic we need to source. This has saved millions of pounds of plastic from going to landfills. The end result is that roughly 50% of our RSP is from internally recycled material. In fact, we purchase plastic from other playground manufacturers that would otherwise be landfilled.
We turn milk jugs into playgrounds!
At Play Mart, Earth Day is Every Day
For us, Earth Day is how we live and work every day. But in honor of Earth Day this year, we wanted to highlight how using recycled plastics is beneficial:
- Recycled Structural Plastic is low-maintenance, graffiti-resistant, won’t chip or splinter, and is resistant to insects, fungus, and inclement weather. That means you won’t be replacing your playground equipment for years to come.
- Play Mart has a Limited Lifetime Warranty on our RSP vertical posts and ECO Color Plastic Products under normal use and with proper maintenance as required by Play Mart, against structural failure due to deterioration or weathering. So not only are we saving those milk jugs from polluting the environment, but they’ll stay out of that landfill for a lifetime.
- RSP is 100% BPA, phthalate, and “soft” PVC free, which means it can help limit children’s exposure to potential toxicities.
- It’s a great teaching tool. Provides a life lesson to kids about good use of resources!
We are continually implementing sustainable practices in our product and work environment. We love educating youngsters about responsible living and recycling through school tours of our manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Our sustainable practices are tangible reflections of our mission as a company.
We can all do our part to help the Earth each day. We can choose the products we use and how we use and recycle everything we consume. So, imagine the next time you put that empty plastic milk jug in your home or school recycling bin. It might just become a playground one day. Pretty neat, huh?