ProjectGreenLancaster

Playgrounds

Kids Express Collage

Photo Credited to Qwan Lewis

Introduction

Though it is often seen as a cliché there is a coined phrase that stands, “Children are the future.” This is true, as children need a safe, healthy environment to grow and enjoy their early years. In our surrounding areas throughout Lancaster there are many variables that are dangerous to the well being of our children. With that being said, we must band together to aid in the development of our youth in our communities. The first step to doing so is using more sustainable products. This idea is defined as using goods that “provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle.” In regards to children the use of sustainable playgrounds is a great foundation to aid environmental progression.

Grace Church is a local faith based foundation that is located at 300 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, PA 17602. The church, while conducting services, is also home to Kids Express Playschool. Kids Express is a child center that teaches two through five-year-old children, and uses all sustainable products in their outdoor playground. From the monkey bars to the slides each piece was created from a sustainable material. With contribution from Playsimple/Playworld Systems of Pennsylvania the church was able to finance the creation of a play area that is completely environmentally friendly.
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Photos Credited to Qwan Lewis

Budget

Originally, Grace Church was in need for a new playground since the previous one was deteriorating from wear and tear throughout the years. The director at the time was striving to only spend around eight thousand dollars since budgeting was tight. This would have been an easy task except for the fact that the standard playground/gymnasium area begins at fifteen thousand dollars. This was a better number than most as top of the line playgrounds can be as high as one hundred fifty thousand dollars. Luckily for the church, after conversation with Playworld Systems a decision was made to create a commercial playground.

This idea was created in hopes that the next playground could withstand damage better than the past residential playgrounds. Though the pieces were more durable it would actually be cheaper than the conventional play area. This is all because of Playworld wanting to deliver satisfactory, quality equipment to the local youth. Cost was heavily decreased because of installation being so easy. Usually, there can be fees for installation of pieces such as those necessary for a playground. In this case it was made moderately easy so no extra revenue was needed. At the end of construction the playground was created with the final bill being only ten thousand dollars, not far off of the budget.

Job Creations

            One of the great benefits of sustainable progression is the creation of jobs in certain cases. Playworld is a local business, located in Lewisburg, PA, which sparked the interest of those from Grace Church. When sustainable production is used it can be beneficial to both parties involved. The business from Kids Express aids Playworld’s lifespan as seventy-one percent of the suppliers they accumulated are within one hundred fifty miles of each other. They also make the playgrounds on demand in attempt to stay up to date, and reduce storage and waste. As long as people continue to use sustainable products such as those provided by Playworld Systems then jobs will continue to produce for local businesses.

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Photos Credited to Brian Kreps

Sustainable Resources

As the years pass by, humans are harming the earth more and more. We live in an era of pure consumption, even though we are aware that recycling is more of a green solution. If people knew how much they were hurting the planet by throwing everything away, maybe they would be more inclined to recycle. Playworld systems recognize the environmental issues the world is faces today, and is now extremely eco-friendly. First off, Playworld tracks all of the emissions its factory produces. For example, the company even tracks the energy they use on printers and other small machines. It’s the attention to detail that makes this company so unique. When it was discovered that using PVC could be harmful to the environment, they completely eliminated it and replaced it with a material called Eco-Armour, which has thirty-eight percent less of a negative environmental impact. Companies often throw out tons of unwanted inventory, which goes straight to landfills, which is both financially and environmentally irresponsible. Playworld reported that they recycle ninety percent of the trash the company uses. Even the material they use is recycled, recyclable or biodegradable.

Values of Playworld Sustainability

The ethics of Playworld is clearly stated through the mission statement. Even the company’s homepage has a “values” section that really sticks out. Under this section it lists Playworld’s top beliefs. Some of these values are expressed as-

-”We believe having fun is serious business”

-”Innovation that sparks the imagination”

-”Healthy play for all ages”

-”Inclusive play for everyone”

-”Flawless customer service”

-”Community building partnerships”

-”Authentic solutions for a healthier planet”

Those mission statements aren’t the only things under the “values” section of the homepage. It also states what they are truly most proud of; certification. This company goes through advanced precautions to ensure that it is upholding it’s moral obligations to the planet. It is the first and only playground Company to be “Cradle to Cradle” certified. This is a rigorous and comprehensive environmental certification system that evaluates products and materials for their impact on human and environmental health and assures recyclability of the products after their usable lifespan. With values such these listed above, alongside the certifications Playworld has obtained it is obvious that companies such as these are necessary to continue the progression of sustainable goods.

Click here for some words from the Director of Grace Valley, Mary Liz Youtz,  about Sustainability! 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Lancaster is in forward progression to becoming more sustainable in their community. With playgrounds such as Kids Express’ an example is being set to move towards an efficient, greener environment for the children. Though this is typically positioned towards the youth parents are also happier. They get to see their children have fun in a PVC/rust free environment that is durable and clean. Companies such as these are creating the foundation for other sustainable practices to begin. Lancaster is a pivotal turning point for green awareness, but it must continue throughout every community. It would be great to see playgrounds such as these in multiple communities, across America and other countries alike. This is in hopes that children have the same opportunity to thrive with the best, quality equipment there is to offer them. We as consumers must chose companies that prove to be sustainable, and eco-friendly because without our business they cannot continue to create products such as these. So ultimately, it is up to us to put the best foot forward and lead the way for a better environment for us as a unit. Under the “Green Action” segment of the Playworld Systems website there is a quote that rings true in situations such as these. It states, “The planet is our natural playground. But it is not only ours, it belongs to every generation that comes after us.” Please remember these words when thinking about our future endeavors for our community.

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Photos Credited to Brian Kreps

Glossary 

Sustainable Products-products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle.”

Eco-Friendly-not harmful to the environment.

PVC-Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is the third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer.

References

“Grace Valley Church.” Grace Church at Willow ValleyKEP Home Page. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

“Playgrounds.” — All Aboard the Play Express Kids Express Preschool in Lancaster, Pa. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

“What’s New at Playworld.” Playworld®: Commercial Playground Equipment Manufacturer. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 7 Dec. 2015. (For Definitions)

 

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