News | August 11, 2008

Playworld Systems, Inc. Is First Major U.S. Playground Manufacturer To Eliminate PVC From Products

LEWISBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Playworld Systems, Inc., a leading international manufacturer of playgrounds and playground equipment, has announced that it will become the first major playground manufacturer to abandon the use of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) in its products. PVC, commonly knows as "vinyl" has been a significant component in playground equipment for decades. However, recent private and public studies have indicated it is environmentally unsound and a potential health risk.

"We have a responsibility to the environment and the children who use our playgrounds to do everything in our power to use the most environmentally friendly substances" said Matt Miller, president of Playworld Systems. "We are proud to be the first major playground manufacturer to do something about the actual problem of PVC and not just ‘offset' its effects by other means."

Some companies continuing to manufacture with PVC are attempting to offset the environmental effects by planting trees for each PVC-laced piece of equipment built. While planting trees is a positive environmental effect, it does nothing to keep the harmful PVC dioxin out of the environment. Dioxin, the most potent carcinogen known to man, is created with the production and incineration of PVC and does not break down rapidly, remaining in the environment.

In addition to playgrounds, PVC is also prevalent in cars, toys, housing and countless consumer products. There are alternative plastic substances which can be employed to replace PVC which do not present environmental danger and are bio-degradable.

"Moving away from PVC is the best choice for environmentally conscientious play facilities" said Miller. "While we will incur a short term capital cost, we will be providing a more environmentally stable line of products with additional performance benefits."

Playworld is replacing its PVC with thermoset Polyethylene (PE), a tough, durable and environmentally friendly alternative. PE-produced products and coatings will stay clean longer because PE is less porous than PVC, is slip resistant due to its textured finish, and contains no volatile organic compounds or dioxins in the manufacturing process. It is 100% recyclable.

Playworld has a history of being on the edge of environmentally conscious manufacturing. Since 2004, it has been using lean manufacturing processes, a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement. The company is also ISO 14001 certified; a symbol that it meets the highest standards for environmentally responsible manufacturing.

"Being a ‘green' company is something we take very seriously," said Miller. "We are no longer offering a PVC coating option. Being environmentally sensitive should not be an elective when there's a viable alternative…we are making a wholesale change. " Playworld expects to be PVC-free by October 1, 2008 when its new line of playgrounds becomes available nationally.

Headquartered in Lewisburg, Pa., Playworld Systems is the commercial leader in customized recreation equipment. As an advocate for play for all ages, Playworld provides fun and challenging activities that increase mental and physical wellness. With more than 30 years of experience, the family-owned company offers a variety of recreational solutions that develop physical strength, balance and aerobic activity, as well as enhancing social skills. Because Playworld Systems believes the world needs play, it strives to produce the most innovative, creative and imaginative recreational products through its five brands – PlayDesigns®, Playworld™, Climbing Boulders™, Woodward® Ramps & Rails, and LifeTrail®. For more information, visit

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