This guest post is by Rose McGowan of www.rubberecycle.com.
Parents can preach to their children about going green and saving the environment until they’re blue in the face, but the best way to teach is to lead by example. When kids see green products being used in the home and a concentrated effort to find alternative solutions they internalize the importance of the Green Revolution. There is no better place to use green products than on the playground, where children spend a large portion of their time.
Rubber mulch is the latest fad in playground equipment, and it is gaining acclaim for more reasons than one. Made out of recycled rubber tires, playground rubber mulch is extremely eco-friendly, saving lots of space in landfills. In fact, some manufacturers even try to employ green manufacturing processes, such as powering their warehouses and machinery with solar energy. The recycled rubber is ground into chips and the scrap metal removed to be used for a safe, kid-friendly surface. As awareness grows, more and more mechanics and major tire retailers are offering customers the option of having their tires recycled rather than disposed of. Many also have large bins outside of their stores where drivers can drop off old tires for recycling.
Rubber mulch comes in place of wood mulch, which has been used in recent years as surfacing for playgrounds. Wood mulch poses the potential for deforestation, as manufacturers require huge quantities of clean, good quality wood that will pass inspection with the CSPC and ADA. Some manufacturers of wood mulch advertise their product as eco-friendly by way of recycling wood, but consumers must dig deeper to ascertain whether the mulch is actually made from recycled wood. With rubber mulch there is no doubt that the rubber is recycled.
Rubber mulch is also being hailed as the safest playground surface on the market. The shock absorbency inherent to rubber helps prevent injuries and cushion children’s falls. Aside for rubber chips, rubber mulch comes in many forms, including poured rubber bond and rubber wear mats that are placed in areas of high impact. The bond is created by spreading a thick layer of loose rubber mulch covered by an additional layer of rubber that is combined with a polyurethane bond. The result is playground flooring that retains the nature of rubber, but looks as smooth and clean as blacktop.
Many commercial playground use bulk rubber mulch, with rubber wear mats as landing pads under slides. Even Michelle Obama has endorsed rubber mulch, installing it in the White House playground, lauding both its safety and green nature.
Playground rubber mulch comes in a variety of colors, to fit with design preferences, but it is advisable for consumers to check that the manufacturer uses responsible dying methods. Colored and natural rubber mulch retain their color for years, and don’t leave dirty residue on kids’ clothes.
There is nowhere more important to use clean, eco-friendly products than on the playground, home to children. Rubber mulch playground flooring is bringing the standards of happy, healthy, outdoor play to a whole new level.
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