Sustainable Play Items – the Green Way to Go!

Green and eco-friendly products are very common these days – there are so many products that make a ‘green’ or eco-friendly claim so that now we come to expect it on the shelves of our supermarkets, on websites or banks who claim to be ‘paperless.’

Have you ever thought about what your children play with and how these items may impact the environment?
Now that summer will be upon us soon, outdoor play is something we should start thinking about now and sustainability should be on our minds.

Some equipment does not last!

Unfortunately, a lot of consumer products we buy for our children are not built to last. Typically, these tend to be the cheaply made plastic toys that break or stop working properly. The sad fact is that usually the cheaper products, which are made of plastic, tend to be the ones that end up in landfills and aren’t biodegradable, so will sit there for many years to come.

What are the greener options?

There are two main things you can do to be more environmentally-friendly when buying play equipment, and in particular outdoor play equipment.

1. Buy to last. This can be a hard one as there are usually no guarantees. It also depends on how boisterous your children are. However, larger items like swings and climbing frames can come with a 10 year warranty – like Action Climbing Frames which can be bought at the Big Game Hunters climbing frame shop, Mad Fun and All Garden Fun, amongst others.

Wooden play items will on the whole have a longer life than many of their plastic counterparts. Apart from a longer life, the wood can be re-used if still in good condition once the play equipment is no longer used or needed and most importantly it will not fill up landfill, as it will eventually degrade.

2. Think about the materials they are made from. A lot of wood that goes into playhouses, climbing frames, tree houses and swings comes from sustainable wood sources. This means that the wood comes from somewhere where they are constantly planting new trees so the amount of trees does not diminish.

Look out for people reusing things to make new play items. Garden Games uses old tyres for its tyre swings, which uses up old tyres, which would otherwise have no use, and makes something fun for children to play on. Rubber does not biodegrade so they can fill up landfills just like plastics! Instead, by using them as swings, they are not sitting in landfills, and costs to the consumer have been reduced as the tires are being reused for this purpose.

About the Author

Written by Abbi Stewart, advisor and creator of play equipment for children at Big Game Hunter’s climbing frames shop at www.climbingframes.com.