From waste to play value

girl looking out the window of a green playground structure
Transitioning to more sustainable materials and partially innovating more sustainable raw materials is one of the key elements in our commitment to reducing our climate footprint. At KOMPAN, we use recycled materials for our play equipment, including post-consumer waste such as outworn fishing nets and textile waste.

From waste to play value

Being a global manufacturer of playgrounds, approximately 80 percent of our carbon emissions come from the raw materials we produce and use. Consequently, we at KOMPAN are always on the lookout for ways to reduce our environmental footprint.

One of our numerous initiatives focuses on utilising materials with minimal impact on the environment, turning what was once considered waste into the building blocks of laughter and learning for children and childlike spirits.

We focus on utilising materials with minimal impact on the environment, turning what was once considered waste into the building blocks of laughter and learning for children and childlike spirits.

Outworn fishing nets

Annually, over 640,000 tons of fishing equipment are abandoned in the oceans. The amount of plastic in the oceans will surpass the total weight of all fish by 2050.

Fishing nets are primarily made of different kinds of plastic. Modern recycling methods are emerging, allowing the large amounts of fishing nets collected to be recycled in various ways, for example as nylon yarn for the fashion industry.

At KOMPAN, we use outworn fishing nets for different types of play equipment. An example is our panels, where the fishing nets are shredded into small pieces. Afterward, these are pelletised and transformed into climbing structures and panels.

Back in the day, all our panels were made from 100 percent virgin plastic. However, by replacing virgin plastic with ocean waste – a post-consumer source – we reduce carbon emissions on the panels by 81.7 percent CO2e/kg.

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By replacing virgin plastic with ocean waste – a post-consumer source – we reduce carbon emissions on the panels by 81.7 percent CO2e/kg.

Textile waste

The world’s textile waste increased by more than 900 percent from 1960 to 2021, with recycled textile materials used in textile production accounting for only one percent.

Fortunately, other industries have started to recognise the potential of textile waste. At KOMPAN, textiles have proven very useful for posts, where the textile is processed and combined with post-consumer recycled plastic. We call this TexMadeTM.

With TexMadeTM, we have transformed our traditional steel posts so that now they are made from post-consumer textiles and post-consumer plastic bags. The outcome is a robust playground post with an 82 percent reduction in carbon emissions per kg, compared with a pre-galvanised steel post.

TexMade playground post made out of recycled consumer waste

Q&A on recycled materials

What is the difference between post-consumer and post-industrial waste and why is this important?

All recycled qualities are better to use if the alternative is using new/virgin material. However, when choosing between a post-industrial or a post-consumer quality, the post-consumer type saves much more CO2e. It is a harder job to use post-consumer qualities. With post-consumer qualities, you must collect, sort, and clean the waste before it can be used again. But the material is saved and can be used again, saving the environment from new /virgin material entering our world and preventing the waste from going into the waste incineration or landfill.

Does KOMPAN use all types of post-consumer waste?

KOMPAN is using narrower post-consumer waste streams, like used textiles, fishing nets, and food packaging post-consumer waste. We can control the quality better than if we used very broad waste. The household waste can be a mix of many different sources.

Who makes sure that the plastic sources are in fact from post-consumer waste and that it does not contain any other harmful ingredients?

We only use suppliers with the highest quality standards. It is very important that the waste comes from high-quality suppliers. We have a close connection to our suppliers, visiting them regularly. We are also running tests of all materials we are using to ensure high quality. We do not compromise our high quality and safety standards; they fully apply also to our recycled material qualities.

Which ocean does the plastic waste come from, and what route does it take?

The Ocean waste we use in our products originates from Europa and the Arctic oceans. It is based on post-consumer streams collected from the maritime industry, such as fishing nets, ropes and trawls.

Are the products still UV resistant if the material is 100 % recycled?

UV protection is added to all our recycled qualities. Some of our post-consumer recycled materials have no added colour pigment; they are the natural colour from e.g. fishing nets. The colour may vary. We only add UV protection and keep the natural colour from, e.g., the fishing nets.

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Designing Greener Playgrounds

Welcome to a discussion on the evolving landscape of playgrounds – an essential aspect of childhood that now takes a turn towards responsible materials and practices.

In this magazine we'll delve deeper into the specifics of these materials, exploring the benefits they bring to playground design and their positive influence on the overall environmental footprint of these spaces.

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KOMPAN magazine: Designing greener playgrounds

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Explore, Learn, Design: Greener Playgrounds

Read and learn more about our approach on working with recycled materials in playground components
closeup of playground post made from recycled materials

The footprint of a playground

Playgrounds, integral to childhood development, often leave a substantial environmental footprint from raw material extraction to disposal. KOMPAN's Go Green Director, Dorthe Thorup-Kjærulff, sheds light on KOMPAN's commitment to transparency.

girl holding up an old t-shirt found on the beach

From waste to play value

KOMPAN acknowledges that around 80% of its carbon emissions result from the raw materials used. We are actively seeking ways to diminish our environmental footprint. Learn more about the company's key initiatives.

Girls playing on a large playground climbing structure

The new look of a reduced carbon footprint

Architect Alexander Sundberg assures that TexMade™ posts and plastic alternatives, developed from textile waste and post-consumer sources, rival steel and plastic in durability. Playground solutions can be as colourful as your heart desires – but with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint.

girl looking out a window in a side panel on a playground structure

Greener playgrounds: Where durability meets safety

KOMPAN's TexMade™ playground posts, crafted entirely from textile waste, prove their durability in extreme tests. Jacob Harder, KOMPAN's engineer, emphasises the necessity of finding alternatives to traditional materials like steel and plastic.

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Playgrounds with documented green benefits

Navigating corporate claims on climate impact is increasingly aided by third-party verified data. Tomas Riegels-Jørgensen of Bureau Veritas emphasises the rising demand for understanding ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) activities.