October 3, 2008

Iowa DNR offers grants for recycled rubber playground surfacing

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is offering matching grant funds for improving city and county playgrounds with recycled rubber tile surfaces.

The applications are due by Monday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. Proposals will primarily be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, with special consideration given to cities and counties designated as disaster areas due to tornadoes and flooding over the past summer.

The playgrounds will be surfaced with recycled rubber tiles manufactured using approximately 1 million pounds of crumb rubber derived from Iowa scrap tires. Because of its compression capabilities, the new playground surface greatly reduces injuries due to falls from play equipment and significantly improves handicapped accessibility. The recycled rubber tiles replace common playground surfacing materials like wood chips and pea gravel while decreasing maintenance costs.

A similar grant offering was made this past summer for Iowa schools. Twenty-two schools benefited from the limited grant offering and now offer safer playgrounds to their students with a built in, hands-on lesson of the value of recycling.

The DNR is contracted with Welch Products, Inc., a subsidiary of GreenMan Technologies, Inc. to supply the rubber tiles, oversee concrete pad construction and install playground surface tiles at selected city and county playgrounds across the state.

“The Department believes this type of hands-on demonstration for children and adults can show the benefits of recycling. The crumb rubber used in manufacturing these safety tiles may have originated from a scrap tire that came off of the family car,” said Tom Anderson, environmental specialist, senior with the DNR. “This closed loop recycling project hopes to increase Iowans’ awareness that what they recycle can be made into beneficial new products while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint.”

The playgrounds surfaced with the recycled rubber tiles will meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Consumer Product Safety Commission certification guidelines once installed.

For more information on the recycled rubber playground safety tiles, please visit the Welch Products, Inc Web site at www.welchproducts.com/NSSI or contact Tim Mahoney at (847) 917-3958.

The grant application is available at http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/recycling/tires/index.html

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