Is your school play equipment a climate change winner?

school play equipment - recycling fights climate change

Hardly a day goes by nowadays without the issue of climate change being mentioned on the news, backed up by disturbing scenes of the first obvious manifestations of global warming and its devastating effects upon the planet. Raging bush fires in Australia and severe flooding in Indonesia are but just two recent examples. International high profile personalities and groups such as Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion are giving this important topic the airtime and publicity it so rightly deserves.  And that is why we at the Hideout House Company have developed a range of recycled plastic play equipment for school playgrounds rather than using the traditional rounded timbers.  We have this whole big issue of plastic pollution which is wreaking all kinds of havoc on the environment adversely affecting wildlife, wildlife habitat and us, humans. David Attenborough has told us all about it in his television programmes and even school children from around the world recently went on strike for a day to drive the message home. There is already an excellent international programme within the educational community called Eco Schools which encourages environmental awareness and teaches children to adopt skills and practices to drive through change. Recycling forms a major part of this initiative. And that is why we are now using recycled plastic for our play equipment. Rather than polluting our planet, plastic bottles and cartons can now be 100% recycled and made into recycled plastic which is a low maintenance and environmentally friendly alternative to timber. Rubbish can therefore be transformed into a useful, high quality playground product rather than having to chop down trees to provide the timber alternative. But there is more. As well as its extremely eco-friendly credentials, there are also lots of other benefits to be gained from recycled plastic play equipment: •    It will never rot or degrade as it can easily tolerate damp conditions  •    It will never splinter or have cracks and shakes •    It is extremely low maintenance •    It is hard wearing and exceptionally durable lasting five times longer than timber and does not degrade with age •    It is UV, graffiti, algae and insect resistant There is a secondary benefit too in that children can actually learn about the recycling process from just using this type of play equipment by understanding and appreciating its provenance.  See the video on the benefits of recycled plastic school play equipment below. Some very good reasons therefore to make playground products out of recycled plastic and by doing so, this demonstrates a good environmental practice within your school and could even go towards your school’s Eco School accreditation. The range has now been extended out to include not just trim trails but planters, benches, sandboxes, water play tables, play boats and mud kitchens. The Hideout House Company also offers other unique products to schools which promote and encourage environmental awareness – these include special eco classrooms which feature renewable energy systems such as dynamo bikes which the children have to pedal to create energy/electricity and solar panels with mini wind turbines. By Simon Fearnehough, MD of the Hideout House Company Ltd    See QA Education’s climate change blog here.