As architects and urban planners around the world ditch unsustainable metals and plastics in favour of recycled materials, eco-friendly playgrounds are gaining momentum. Children are instinctively creative and they’re capable of turning almost any item into a play piece, so it makes sense that their playground materials come from many different sources.
Many waste materials are now receiving a fresh breath of life and being transformed into wacky playground innovations that are capable of entertaining children for years and years to come.
We’ve put together a selection of some of the most inventive eco-friendly playgrounds from countries around the globe.
Wikado Playground, The Netherlands
Old windmills and modern wind turbines are a historical part of the Dutch identity, and they’ve been given a whole new use in this futuristic Rotterdam playground. The maze-like play structure is made from 5 discarded wind turbine blades that have been cut up into parts and re-painted. The recycled blades make up a slide tower, a watchtower, tunnels, bridges, ramps, and slides.
Rubber Tree playground, Thailand
The Rubber Tree playground utilizes discarded tyres as its primary building material. The tyres are made to resemble the form of a tree and they’re held together by a bamboo frame in order to avoid the use of metal. The Dutch designer AnneMarie van Splunter created the play sculpture for 1000 refugee children who were stationed along the border of Thailand and Burma.
Lion’s Park playground, Alabama
A group of students from Auburn University’s Rural Studio put together their most creative efforts to build an entire playground out of 2000 recycled steel drums that had been donated. The one-of-a-kind play area is filled with vibrant sound tubes and swing sets, and it was created to replace a more dated playground that was in need of a renovation.
The Geopark, Norway
This Norwegian playground is made completely from recycled oil rig materials such as plastic buoys. The Geopark is located in Stavanger which is the base for Norway’s oil industry, so it’s very fitting that the playpark has made use of industry debris. The thriving waterfront park has become a hub where both locals and tourists can enjoy biking, climbing, skating and chilling out at the waterfront.
Carlos Teixeira’s ‘The Other, The Same’ installation, Brazil
This recycled cardboard labyrinth made its first appearance at the 29th International Biennial in Sau Paulo. The installation is made completely from layers of cardboard that are built on top of mobile platforms. You might want to think twice the next time you decide to discard that old cardboard box!