Why is Playgrade woodchip a good alternative to play bark?
When considering a loose impact absorbing surface for your playground, you have many factors to compare.
Firstly, and most importantly is child safety.
In this regard, as long as you choose a product with declared safety fall heights certificated to BS Standard EN1177:2008, you can tick off this requirement. Most play barks, woodchip, rubber and recycled woodchip will all have this. The only other consideration here would be the use of recycled materials (both rubber and woodchip). In these cases you should inquire of the supplier their processes to ensure no metal contamination of your product.
Secondly (in many of my conversations with buyers) comes practicality/cleanliness. The coloured products all carry a level of staining, the rubber gets into kids pockets and shoes and play bark can go a bit muddy when it gets older and wet. New woodchip doesn’t suffer from any of these issues. When in use, the wood fibres lock to gether to create a clean, free draining springy surface. There are no staining or dirt issues.
Finally, in some cases the most important, price.
In this new world of brutal budgetary control and cuts, playground surfacing creation & maintenance can often take a back seat.
In this aspect new woodchip is the run away winner, because not only is the purchase price lower, it lasts up to twice as long as play bark and doesn’t “leave the area” like rubber.
The price is less as the mechanical process to make chip has got seriously mechanised, mostly due to the demand for woodchip for boilers.
The machine that comes into our farm can process 750 tonnes of timber in a day, to a very tight size specification. We only have a small amount of size grading to complete before dispatch. As the input material is freshly harvested timber, there is no risk of foreign materials getting in.
Play bark, recycled wood chip and rubber chippings all involve complex supply chains and processes.
So in summary, all products when bought from reputable suppliers will cover the basic safety requirements. However there are practical and price considerations to consder, and in these aspects playgrade new woodchip is a serios contender