Our efforts to improve outdoor environments extend beyond school playgrounds
At Fun & Active Playgrounds, we’re passionate about creating playgrounds and outdoor environments that inspire, educate, and encourage physical activity among children.
We know that outdoor play and learning is essential for a healthy wellbeing. We also understand that schools, with their crucial role in shaping young minds, are at the forefront of teaching the values of sustainability and responsibility.
That’s why we’re dedicated to helping schools like yours transform their outdoor spaces into vibrant environments that benefit students, as well as minimising the environmental impact on our planet.
Why schools need to make sustainable purchases
The DfE and the education sector have a joint responsibility for preparing children and young people for the challenges and opportunities they will face, regarding the impact of climate change now, and how it will impact their future lives.
In 2022, the Department for Education (DfE), published a policy paper with a new strategy aimed at the education sector for sustainability and climate change, with a long-term vision for the UK to be the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030.
For this to happen, the DfE have stated that the area in which the most work is needed is in reducing our environmental footprint, particularly in the drive to achieving net zero. As part of this, schools are being encouraged to ensure sustainability is part of the assessment criteria for suppliers and to buy from procurement frameworks that offer sustainable goods and services.
Our Sustainable Playground Markings
Our thermoplastic playground markings are more than just colourful designs; they represent our commitment to sustainability. These markings are carefully crafted to provide your school with numerous benefits, including reduced maintenance and long-lasting durability.
All our playground markings are made from an ultra-durable material called thermoplastic. Preformed thermoplastic lasts significantly longer than paint and has anti-slip properties making it one of the most cost-efficient and safest options for use on playgrounds.
Its long lifespan means that there’s no need to refresh your markings within just one year or so like you would with traditional painted markings. In fact, they will last a minimum of 4 years, but more often up to 10! The significantly reduced maintenance and maximised longevity makes for a more sustainable alternative with less frequent replacements.
The preformed thermoplastic we use to create our markings is also non-toxic and free from any lead or chromates. The coloured pigments used in the thermoplastic are all organic and the material does not emit any environmentally harmful substances.
Both the thermoplastic material we use to create our playground markings, as well as our surface coatings such as MMA (Methacrylate Cold Plastic), are manufactured in accordance with ISO9001 and ISO14001 certifications, the latter being the world’s most recognised environmental management system.
Production of our thermoplastic material:
More than 50% of the energy used to manufacture the thermoplastic material comes from renewable sources like windmills.
More than 70% of the binder material is made from renewable resources.
More than 90% of our glass beads are made of recycled glass.
All coloured pigments used in our thermoplastic are organic.
Less than 1.5% of the production volume of preformed thermoplastic is allowed as waste.
Less than 1L of water is used per ton of thermoplastic produced.
Less than 2% of CO2 is produced per kilogram of thermoplastic. Our standard Mile a Day Playground Marking at 1m x 1m weighs around 5.3kg, meaning there are only approx. 90 grams of CO2 produced in the manufacturing of enough material for this design!
Creating our playground markings:
Our playground markings are precision-cut using our high-tech waterjet cutting machine. We cut up to 10 sheets at a time for efficiency, and we carefully position the design files on each sheet of thermoplastic before they are cut. This ensures we get the most out of the material and are able to minimise thermoplastic wastage.
Reducing Environmental Footprint
As a leading provider of playground markings, we supply and install our designs for hundreds of primary schools and nurseries across the UK every year. Being located on the South coast means that can be a lot of travelling for our teams!
When organising and scheduling installations, our Operations team will look at the best route for our install teams to journey to all the schools booked in that week, considering their locations, and planning the most efficient route in order to minimise our mileage and reduce our carbon footprint.
At Fun & Active Playgrounds, we have developed an innovative way to survey schools and outdoor areas without the need to visit the site in person.
Whilst we are more than happy to visit schools prior to any installation works, we find that 99% of the time, our virtual surveys cover all aspects effectively including evaluating surface condition, discussing and confirming exact location of the markings, and any other concerns or requirements you may have.
This massively helps to reduce our carbon footprint as a business. In fact, we have calculated that by conducting surveys virtually instead of in-person, we are able to save an estimated 55 tCO2 emissions every year – that’s over half of our overall footprint!
Not to mention, our virtual surveys are often completed in as little as 45 minutes, which is much more convenient given how busy the school day can be.
Recycling and Waste Reduction
As a business, our waste makes up only an approximate 1% of our overall footprint. This includes both our general waste as well as our dry and mixed recycling.
By working with an environmentally conscious waste management organisation, we are able to guarantee our waste is treated safely, reliably, and responsibly.
100% of our waste is diverted from landfill and given a new life. Whether it’s recycled and used to create new materials, or used to generate green energy, all the waste we produce as a business is dealt with in a compliant way that reduces its impact on the environment.
Fun & Active Playgrounds is the first and only UK playground marking company to commit to offsetting our carbon footprint!
We know that the focus for any business looking to operate more sustainably needs to come from reducing actual carbon emissions produced. Whilst we continue to investigate new ways in which we can improve this, we are dedicated to offsetting 100% of our estimated footprint each month.
Working with climate-change organisation, Ecologi, we avoid tonnes of CO2e by way of funding and supporting various Gold Standard and VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) approved projects every year.
Projects supported so far include:
First Ever Wind Power Project in Honduras
Wind Power Project in Mexico
Avoiding methane emissions from landfill in Brazil
Solar Power Project in Morocco
Protection of the Matavén forest in eastern Colombia
Generating renewable solar electricity in Egypt
Protecting rainforest in a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia
Repairing water boreholes in Eritrea
Conserving the Amazon in Brazil
Funding these projects means we have so far avoided a total of 79 tCO2e. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of 61 long haul flights, 237 metres2 of sea ice saved, or 195,999 miles driven in a car!
On top of that, for every project we complete, we donate trees to be planted at locations around the world that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Trees are essential to maintaining our climate and biodiversity. What’s more, they contribute to the global environment by improving air quality, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce the oxygen we breathe.
So far, we’ve funded a total of 1,710 trees from different varieties in locations such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique.
More information on the projects we support can be found on our Ecologi profile.
The DfE have outlined 4 strategic aims for achieving their vision of the UK becoming the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change. One of which is “a better environment for future generations: enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality, and increasing access to, and connection with, nature in and around education and care settings.”
To help with this, we actively promote and encourage all schools to get involved with Carbon Footprint’s free tree planting schemefor schools.
Planting trees at your school has a host of educational and environmental benefits. As well as developing the grounds and improving the air quality, planting trees can provide a fun, hands-on activity for your pupils. Get your children involved and you’ll be able to:
provide education on the importance of protecting wildlife habitats and biodiversity
raise awareness of different environmental challenges our planet is currently facing
inspire care for the natural world
assist with school subjects such as Science and Geography
contribute to team-building and social skills
An independent review on the Economics of Biodiversity states that ‘creating an environment from an early age where we are able to connect to nature is essential for self-enforcement in protecting and valuing nature’.
Taking part in tree planting is a sure-fire way for your school to tick this box and become more actively involved in the improvement of your local environment.
Another way we endeavour to support our local communities is by giving away free playground markings via our regular competitions. By offering different playground markings such as Active Spot Circuits, Trails and more, we can give schools who may not have the available budget to spend on playground revamps a chance to win a prize that will benefit their pupils’ mental and physical wellbeing.
Read some of the stories from our previous winners:
At Fun & Active Playgrounds, our commitment to sustainability doesn’t end with our current activities and practices outlined above. We are dedicated to an ongoing journey of improvement and innovation. Our future sustainability goals include continually reviewing our processes to identify areas where we can operate even more sustainably.
We’re focused on reducing our environmental footprint, enhancing eco-friendly materials, and exploring new ways to support schools in their sustainability endeavours.
Our mission is to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in creating greener, healthier outdoor spaces for schools, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for all.