Increasing demand for sustainable playground construction

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

Parents are helping their kids slide towards a more environmentally friendly future thanks to an increased demand for sustainable outdoor play.

With the nation tasked to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Australians are beginning to ask themselves tougher questions about how they can do more to help.

While the last decade has seen families make better environmental decisions around recycling, renewable energy and sustainable transport choices, their efforts have now turned to more unconventional ideas, such as children’s play choices.

The higher demand for more sustainable children’s play and adventure parks has seen more activity spaces created using eco-friendly materials such as sustainable timbers, ocean waste, recycled plastic bags and even retired rope and netting from shipyards.

Queensland mum Julija Dizivinkite expressed her enthusiasm for more eco-friendly play space options for her daughter, such as the new Pirate Ship Park at Palm Beach, Queensland, made from 100 per cent recyclable materials.

“It feels great to have more environmentally conscious play places popping up in our area,” she told the BuildIT.

“To take our daughter somewhere fun where she can be active, knowing it’s not come at the environment’s expense, is a great feeling.”

In the last few years, outdoor activity construction and equipment companies have witnessed a significant shift in parent’s demand for how children’s play spaces are designed.

Sustainable outdoor equipment manufacturer WillPlay has made a conscious effort to ensure all of its children’s play facilities are made with the environment in mind.

Design manager Jared Silcox explained that where carbon-negative parts were not possible, using materials such as aluminium that provide good longevity and are recyclable was equally important.

“One, it’s lightweight, but two, it’s also strong. And thirdly, it is sustainable. Its weight saves on freight around Australia, and it survives our climate from the ocean to the deserts. And importantly, aluminium can be recycled at the end of a product’s life,” he said.
“Our playgrounds are 100 per cent recyclable, so everything that gets taken off one of our playgrounds can be taken to a recycling facility.”

The rise in eco-friendly play spaces comes as research into outdoor nature play shows physical activity in a natural environment positively impacts children’s well-being, encouraging physical activity, creativity, and a deeper connection with nature.

Perth-based playground design company Nature Based Play, tries to embrace a collaborative design and delivery effort with local communities by sourcing local
renewable, natural and recycled materials to construct their work, further minimising the carbon footprint of the play space.

Meanwhile, KOMPAN Australia produced Australia’s first fully sustainable playground at Waverley, South Australia, with the park’s play equipment moulded entirely from post-consumer recycled materials, such as ocean waste, used textiles, food packaging waste, and plastic bags.

The demand for more sustainable fun reaches bigger kids and adults, with Victoria’s Live Wire Park becoming Australia’s first sustainable outdoor adventure park.

Nestled among the canopy of the Otway forest, Live Wire Park challenges visitors to climb trees, swing on ropes, fly on zip lines and jump down bungees as part of their environmentally friendly adventure circuit.

Powered entirely by nature, Live Wire Park has been designed to have a minimal impact on its surroundings by focusing on stability principles, including using solar power, collected water and self-composting toilets alongside a predominantly carbon-negative material construction.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.