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New Zealand-Based Initiative Turns Waste Rubber into Safe Playgrounds

Prepared for eco-friendly fun: At the Numat rubber recycling plant in Oamaru, recycled rubber granules are processed to create sustainable playground surfaces.

The “Sustainable Fun for Everyone!” initiative has officially launched, with the aim of transforming discarded rubber into sustainable and accessible playground surfaces for Kiwi kids.

The program, which is based in New Zealand, has a positive environmental and societal impact by reducing the amount of rubber imported into New Zealand, reducing the amount of waste rubber going into landfills, and creating safe, fun, and accessible playgrounds for children of all abilities.

The recycled rubber granules make the perfect base layer in wet-poured rubber surfaces, providing excellent impact absorption.

The process of creating playground surfaces from waste rubber begins with waste rubber being collected from program partners and taken for processing at the Numat rubber recycling facility. There, it is put through a granulating process that converts it from being a waste product into usable rubber granules. The soft rubber produced through the recycling process makes the perfect base layer in wet-poured rubber surfaces, providing excellent impact absorption. The surfaces created using recycled material are highly durable and can last up to 20 years, making them a sustainable and long-lasting choice for playgrounds.

The “Sustainable Fun for Everyone!” initiative is unique in its collaboration with partners, which connects producers of rubber waste with a notable and tangible demand for the resulting recycled product. This innovation represents a significant step forward for rubber recycling in New Zealand, with the potential to reduce imported rubber and waste rubber going into landfills by up to 780 tonnes per year.

At end of life, the playground surfaces can be recycled again using the same process.

Key partners in this initiative include the playground building company Creo, and the Numat Group, which owns the agricultural and recreational surfacing brands NumatAGRI and NumatREC. Additional partners are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Jacob Judd, General Manager of Numat Group, expressed his enthusiasm for the program: “We are thrilled to be able to take this step towards sustainability and reducing our¬†environmental impact. It not only allows us to turn waste rubber into a usable product, but we have a pre-existing use case and market demand for the product, which has been a problem for other rubber recycling programs in New Zealand.”

One of the key goals of the initiative is to create accessible playground surfaces for children with disabilities. The use of NumatREC Pour’n’Play surfacing ensures that playground surfaces are smooth and easy to access for children with mobility challenges. These surfaces are specially designed to provide excellent slip resistance, cushioning, and durability, which is particularly important for children with disabilities who require clean, reliable surfaces to play on.

CPlay destination playground in Timaru, set to begin construction in late 2023, will be the first major playground project to receive locally recycled rubber granules.

The “Sustainable Fun for Everyone!” initiative has already started producing rubber granules for its first major project, with the CPlay destination playground in Timaru set to receive its recycled surfacing in late 2023. The program is committed to creating sustainable playgrounds across New Zealand and invites individuals and organizations to join their commitment to a more sustainable future.

“This program will significantly reduce the amount of rubber waste in New Zealand by hundreds of tons each year. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the efforts in rubber recycling in this country,” said Jacob Judd.

For more information on the Sustainable Fun for Everyone! initiative or to become a partner, visit the website www.sustainablefunforeveryone.co.nz. 

Contact:
Sustainable Fun for Everyone!
Email: zn.oc.enoyreverofnufelbaniatsus@ofni
Phone: 0800 686 287