When considering safety, cost effectiveness, and style for your playground mulch, New Jersey‘s climate and environment is perfect for virgin wood chips. There are many pros and cons to both wooden and rubber mulch, but wooden mulch is both more environmentally safe and reliable and cost efficient.
Most importantly, the main concern for playground mulch is safety. In the United States alone, over 200,000 children visit emergency room for playground related injuries. Surface impact absorption from falls are slightly varying when comparing rubber to wood mulch; however, when installed properly all mulches meet or exceed the standard for impact absorption. According to the American Camp Association, the proper surfacing for playground mulch is 9-12 inches of loose fill mulch. Specifically, when installing wood chip playground mulch, you won’t have to worry about common recycled rubber mulch issues. These include high toxicity levels, higher flammability, and the possibility of metal lingering in the rubber. Installing chip mulch in your playground assures you that your mulch is free from foreign particles, instilling you with the confidence that you are providing your children with the safest possible option. With all the positives, there are of course the negatives. Though it has not been thoroughly studied, many mulch users have claimed that wooden mulch attracts more bugs and spiders. This is something to keep in mind, as there are a few venomous spiders in the New Jersey area.
Second to safety is cost and sustainability. Wood mulch tends to be half as much as recycled rubber mulch. The initial cost of rubber mulch is very high, but the maintenance is very low. Due to the biodegradability, it is suggested that you add to the top layer at least once a year. Over a long period of time, rubber mulch may be the cheaper option. However, if you consider the soil of your playground, rubber mulch has very little to offer. It is not biodegradable and adds no nutrients to your soil. Even though you are using recycled rubber that would otherwise end up in a landfill, the health of the soil around your playground is important, and this mulch is the more viable option to add nutrients to your soil under and around the playground.
Of course, style is an important aspect to parents and children alike. It varies in size, color, and texture dependent on the type of wood. If you are looking for a more natural and organic style, this mulch is the way to go. However, rubber mulch has far more options for the picky decorator, as rubber is far easier to manipulate. You can choose between a natural-looking style, which is designed to look like wooden mulch, or a vibrant color scheme that your children would enjoy. When it comes to appearance, rubber offers more options, but if you are looking for a nature-inspired playground then wood chips are the perfect preference.
When choosing playground mulch, playgrounds with wood chips have far more benefits when compared to rubber. It provides safety, cost effectiveness, and a natural environment for your fun-loving children. Though there are a few negatives when put next to rubber mulch, the supporting arguments for wood mulch are very strong, and are worth considering.