Making time to get outside and enjoy your local park or playground? If you are like most people you enjoy the use of a community park for outdoor fun, and any given weekend you can see how important parks are as a neighborhood hub. They provide a safe, healthy place to spend quality time outside.

Do you ever wonder how difficult it is to keep parks and playgrounds clean? Managing the proliferation of litter and hazards from a variety of sources is a full time job for playground administrators, private businesses, and organizations who own a public outdoor space. Having a park is a great benefit, not just to the community, but it is also a valued amenity for businesses in the hospitality and resort sector, as well as hospitals, retail centers, apartment communities, and more. And a litter filled space is not only an eyesore, it is health hazard and liability as well.

When planning your outdoor space, it is important to allocate a portion of the budget for waste management. We offer a number of durable, commercial quality products that help manage sources of litter by providing effective opportunities for individuals to dispose of their trash or recyclables in a responsible way.

Pet Waste Management

It is one of the biggest problems faced by parks and even urban areas. Pet waste is not only unsightly, it also presents a significant threat to water quality if not disposed of in an appropriate way. Many pet owners do not realize that dog waste is not actually beneficial to the park, and by not picking up their pet waste, they are creating issues in local lakes, streams, and even the water table from which local drinking water is derived (in some areas of the country).

Responsible pet waste disposal ensures that everyone can enjoy the park, and it is one of the most important things that pet owners can do to protect the park and the local environment. Park owners should budget for signage that encourages pet owners and reminds them of bylaws and ordinances, and should provide ample waste bags and disposal units to make it easy for owners to take the right steps to dispose.

Why Recycling Matters

Did you know that it takes about 450 years for a plastic water bottle to biodegrade? Some types of plastic take over 1,000 years to dissipate.  Even when they do finally biodegrade, the Polyethylene Terephalate (PET)—which is very toxic and harmful to soil and a threat to the quality of our fresh water—never leaves the environment.

There are two things that the average person can do to protect the environment. The first is to use less plastic bottles and opt for reusable personal water containers. The second is to ensure that every plastic bottle that is used ends up recycled to avoid littering our local landscapes and harming our waterways.

Design a park or playground that is recycle-friendly by placing several recycling receptacles in key areas of high traffic, such as beside playgrounds and outdoor eating areas, where plastics and aluminum cans are most likely to be discarded.

Preventing Fires and Injuries with Ash Urns

All municipalities have bylaws that pertain to smoking, particularly in playgrounds near children. Not only is cigarette smoke potentially hazardous to the health of children, cigarettes also present a safety hazard as a potential for burn injuries from picking up discarded lit butts. In dry areas that are prone to grass and forest fires during drought periods, such as California and Texas, they pose the greatest threat, one which can easily be avoided by proper management of cigarette refuse.

One of the biggest errors communities purchasing park equipment make is to assume that ash urns will encourage smoking. However, by NOT including them in your park, you are assuming some amount of liability for fire related accidents by not giving smokers a safe option of discarding their refuse.  Include ash urns in your park or playground plan to enhance safety and save on maintenance and clean-up costs by making it easy for people to dispose of their cigarettes in an appropriate manner. If smoking is a problem near the playground, consider creating a designated smoking area with seating, tables, and receptacles, to help manage the problem and keep cigarette smoke away from children at play.