Playgrounds that Celebrate Earth Day, Everyday!

Recovering yesterday’s plastics for today’s play. Happy Earth Day 2022 Recycled Playgrounds

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.

Approximately 1.4 million pounds of recycled plastic each year to create the amazing and fun playground equipment in both our Play Mart and Nature of Early Play brands.

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.

Alarming Statistics

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?

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Recent Articles


"I'm not sure whether the kids would have caused damage to the playset at some point, but the playground survived the hurricane. Your RSP™ is amazing."

Tim H. Gateway Services Community Development District

Ft Myers, FL

“I would just like to let you know Play Mart did a wonderful job on the packing/shipping and installation instructions. We have installed almost every manufacturer in the market and your company is the most installation friendly we have done in years.”

Playground Installation Crew


“The contractor who assembled the set told me it was his first experience with recycled material in play sets and he was very impressed. He also told me it was very well packaged and user friendly for assembly.

It looks first class and blends in well with the wooded area surrounding our church. We like the fact we can accommodate so many kids with a set this size.”

Bruce P.

Topeka, KS

“This is cooler than big kids stuff!”

5 Year Old Child

Topeka, KS

“Congratulations on your extensive and impressive exhibit of your playground products. I was most impressed. If I were a child, I would spend a lot of time in the music section of your marvelous array of enticing things to do. But on the other hand, I could easily be enticed to the many other play opportunities for play and learning.

It is blatantly obvious that you have put a lot of careful thought into developing your engaging products for children. Congratulations and thank you for the tour of your exhibit at the trade show.”

Matthew Evans, FASLA Senior Landscape Architect & Horticulturist

US Capitol, Washington, DC

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to write a letter on behalf of Play Mart, Inc. On two different occasions in recent years, Play Mart constructed playground equipment on our school property. Play Mart representatives went out of their way to meet with the school playground committee so that we fully understand our options and the cost. We have been delighted with the equipment that Play Mart representatives recommended for our students. It is age appropriate and safe. We have had to make two minor repairs, which were quickly taken care of by the company.
In the process building the playground, we were very interested in using recycled materials. Availability of this via Play Mart was a big reason why we choose this company. Play Mart worked with us in obtaining exactly what we wanted. We were very pleased with the construction timeline and the value for the price. When we wanted to add more equipment, Play Mart was most helpful and made the changes cost effective for us. Our students spend many happy hours enjoying the playground.

We have been very happy with the entire project. It is with great satisfaction I write this letter on behalf of the company and their employees.”

Sister Laverne K., School Principal

Newark, DE

“We continue to be so pleased with our playscape! As soon as we open the door in preparation for outside play, the children head straight for the playscape. The teachers so enjoy watching the students play some of their favorite games which include: Pirate Ship (they all crowd on top of the playscape sailing off for adventure of the high seas), Shark! (similar to pirate ship but they all stand on top screaming “shark”), and Ice cream shop (sellers stand under the playscape and deliver ice cream cones to customers on the other side of the ‘counter’).
We thank you again for working so closely with us as we designed this safe and sturdy play area to fit the needs of our Nursery School. It has been one year and it still looks great, blending beautifully into our historic town green. Both our school and our community look forward to many, many more years of fun!”

Laurie H., Daycare Director

Washington, CT

“Our entire church is excited with the equipment and especially glad we saved 32,226 milk jugs from a landfill. We love the look of wood without the problems of termites and splintering.”

Joyce W.

Jacksonville, AR

“I wanted to drop you a quick note to commend you on your subcontractor’s performance…The combination of your quality equipment and the installation by Hammer Down has provided the staff, children and Marine Corp with an excellent play facility. The installation and application of the equipment has turned out superbly.  Hammer Down, Paul and his entire crew were pleasant to work with, knowledgeable of the equipment and codes and had an uncommon willingness to work well with us and other contractors. I commend them for an excellent install and terrific attitude.

As for the poured in place rubber; again a superb product paired with a great subcontractor. Clean Play, Allen and his crew provided a level of work that would be hard to surpass. The installation went smoothly and quickly. I appreciate their attention to detail and cleanliness. Though we may have stayed late, I never have an issue doing that for a contractor that works as hard and diligently as they did each and every day. There performance was outstanding and one I would look forward to seeing again.

I appreciate all of your help and you providing us with such high quality subcontractors. Thank you.”

Mike R., Superintendent

Sauer, Inc.