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Your Guide to Plan an Indoor Playground

Plastic is a durable, safe, and adaptable material that can radically reduce the cost of playground equipment.  It comes in an assortment of colors, sizes, and shapes, and production methods lend themselves to creativity.  Manufacturers can design a plastic jungle gym, a plastic playground slide, plastic tube-tunnels, ladders, monkey bars, and even work-out equipment.  

Whether you’re looking to furnish your residential area, or reinvigorate your commercial property, this guide will help you manage and understand the prices of playground equipment.

2 Types of Plastic Production

The components for plastic playground sets are made by one of two possible manufacturing methods:

Rotational Molding

In this process, the mold is filled with a polymer material then rotated and heated in tandem to melt into the cavity.  Once the material takes shape, it is cooled to harden and the tool is removed, resulting in a hollow plastic structure.

This is a cost-effective method of making plastic playground equipment, with high-flexibility and low labor demand, but it can be very time-consuming.

Blow Molding

In this process, plastic is melted into a rounded mass with an opening on one side called a parison.  Air is then blown into the opening to shape the soft plastic to fit a mold.  

This method is typically more expensive, but much quicker.  For large budget mass production, blow molding is the way to go, but it falls behind when it comes to variation and reducing your playground cost.

Testing the Quality of Your Plastic

Manufacturers will try to use as little material as possible to meet the requirements to be considered commercial grade.  For this reason, it’s beneficial for you, as the buyer, to understand the basics for measuring the quality of your plastic playground equipment.

Identifying the coloring agent used and thickness of your plastic are great ways to determine the overall quality of the material. Often, manufacturers will use less plastic on the non-used parts of the structure to shave costs.  This in turn will drop your price, but can also jeopardize the physical integrity of your plastic playground sets.

Pay close attention to the product warranty, as it will generally indicate the estimated lifespan of the materials you are being sold.

Recycled Materials

Using recycled plastic is a great plan for low-impact and sustainable business, but is it always cheaper?  The answer to that question is more complicated that you would think, because it varies based on geography, politics, and the economy.

As you may already know, plastic’s two key ingredients are petroleum and natural gas, and while the former is currently a hotter commodity, bot resources are finite and therefore, prices will fluctuate based on availability and international trade policies.  When oil prices are low, manufacturing virgin plastic can is the more economic option, but as prices rise, recycled plastic becomes an attractive alternative.

Plastic procurement isn’t the only cost to consider.  Disposal should be factored into your budget as well.  While landfills have historically been cheaper than recycling centers, growing population densities have forced a handful of states to institute dumping fees that can surpass the price of recycling.  Additionally, some states offer tax incentives for companies that purchase and utilize recycling equipment as an alternative to dumping their excess materials.

Check out all of to view plastic playground equipment and play components for sale.