Are wooden playgrounds more sustainable than recycled plastic ones?
For over a hundred years communities have been installing play equipment into their open spaces for children to enjoy. Fundamentally these where originally wooden constructions, more recently steel has been a popular choice. With recent advances in material science, recycled materials are beginning to make an appearance.
But which material offers the most sustainable solution?
Nordic pine wood
Renewable Resource: Timber is a renewable resource when harvested from sustainably managed forests. Responsible forestry practices ensure the replenishment of trees and the long-term health of forest ecosystems.
Carbon Sequestration: Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store carbon in their wood. By using timber in playgrounds, carbon is stored for the lifespan of the equipment, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Biodegradability: Timber is a natural material that is biodegradable, meaning it can break down over time and return to the environment without leaving harmful residues or pollutants.
Responsible Sourcing: Opting for certified timber, such as those with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, ensures that the wood comes from sustainably managed forests and promotes environmentally responsible practices.
Waste Reduction: Recycled materials, such as recycled plastic, divert waste from landfills and reduce the need for raw material extraction. Utilizing recycled materials can contribute to a circular economy and reduce resource consumption.
Energy and Resource Conservation: The use of recycled materials reduces the energy and resources required for the manufacturing process. It minimizes the demand for new raw materials, reducing the overall environmental impact.
Waste Valorisation: Recycling materials gives a second life to discarded items, extending their usefulness and reducing the environmental impact associated with their disposal.
Durability: Depending on the specific material, recycled materials can exhibit excellent durability and resistance to weathering, potentially resulting in longer lifespan and reduced need for replacement.
It's important to note that both timber and recycled material playgrounds have their own sustainability advantages. The choice between them should consider factors such as the environmental impact of sourcing, manufacturing processes, end-of-life considerations, and the specific sustainability goals of the project.