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California Playgrounds Using More Recycled Materials

Sacramento, CA - Recycled plastics and crumb rubber from waste tires are among the materials that will find new life making children's playgrounds safer and more accessible, thanks to more than $2.5 million in grants awarded by the California Integrated Waste Management Board--the state's primary recycling agency and a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Fifty-seven grants totaling $2,544,529 to both northern and southern California municipalities were approved for the second and final cycle of the Park Playground Accessibility and Recycling Grant Program. Funding for the awards is provided by the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 (Villaraigosa-Keeley Act).

"The world we leave our children should be better than the one we came into and what better way to ensure their future than by protecting the environment?" said Waste Board Chair Linda Moulton-Patterson following the Board's decision. "These grants ensure that materials now being kept out of landfills will be included as recycled content in products like play structures and playground surfaces in city and county parks all over California. While the children enjoy improved and upgraded play areas, we all benefit from putting our recycling efforts to good use."

These grants help local public agencies upgrade playgrounds with recycled-content materials to ensure that playgrounds comply with State regulations and are accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Safety mats made from old tires, decks and slides made from recycled plastic--including wheelchair accessible platforms, horizontal ladders, rings, and steering wheels--as well as interactive panels, signs, and related play equipment are examples of recycled-content products already used in some public parks and playgrounds in California.

The Park Playground Accessibility and Recycling Grant Program requires that local agencies use 50 percent of the grant funds for the improvement or replacement of playground equipment or facilities using recycled-content materials. Grantees have almost two years to complete their projects. Cities, counties, park districts, special districts, and federally recognized California Indian tribes were eligible to apply. Eligible applicants must operate a public park playground.

The grant application process was highly competitive. A total of 102 eligible applications were received requesting $4.6 million in funding. Applicants received additional points if they had a recycling program in place. Communities applying for the grants were required to demonstrate economic need relative to the location of the playground to be improved. Priority was given to neighborhoods with income levels 25 percent or more below the state's median household income level.

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