Responsibility is in Our Nature
As a company dedicated to the development of children, it is important to us that they have a future that is as friendly as the one we enjoy today. Although numerous factors affect the environment, we must all take responsibility for the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities. The world produces over 27 billion metric tons of CO2, and oceans and forests can only absorb about two thirds of that. Clearly then, "offsetting" carbon is no solution at all. Although experts call for a 70% reduction in emissions over the next 50 years, the emission rate is forecasted to double. The responsible path is to reduce our carbon production, increase use of sustainable materials, and recycle waste rather than dump it in a landfill. While offsets may sound good from a public relations perspective, they aren't solving the problem. When one looks at the overall situation, it is clear that offsetting emissions is about as effective as putting a bandage on an arterial wound.
GameTime takes an above compliance attitude towards sustainability just as we do with safety, accessibility, and customer service. We believe that it is important to educate both the current leaders and next generation about how they can address these issues with a message of hope and solutions rather than discouragement and blame.
By working with organizations that specialize in sustainability, we can apply their knowledge and expertise to our products and processes to produce a better, more environmentally friendly product.
At GameTime, sustainability is part of what we do every day. It's our responsibility to take steps to ensure that our manufacturing and consumption leave as small a mark on the world as possible.
GameTime is proud to carry ISO 14001 Environmental Management certification, the prestigious "Green Certification," for its manufacturing plant in Fort Payne, AL. The ISO 14001 certification is an internationally recognized framework for environmental management, measurement, evaluation, and auditing. Companies control the environmental impact of their activities, products, and services by implementing an environmental policy that meets international standards, but is specific to their operation. GameTime achieved its certification from SRI Registrar, an accredited registrar that issues quality, environmental, health & safety, and security management system registration certificates based on internationally recognized standards.
As the first and only playground manufacturer member of the U.S. Green Building Council, GameTime is part of an important network. The USGBC is a non profit organization dedicated to expanding sustainable building practices by transforming the way communities are designed, built and operated.
Our relationship with the USGBC has broadened our perspective on the methodology required to address environmental concerns, through initiatives like increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste, and meeting the recycled content guidelines set forth by the LEED Green Building Rating System. As a result, the majority of our products are made from substantial percentages of pre and post consumer recycled materials, including 100% recycled options. See the recycled content sheet for detailed information.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings*(USGBC).
We consider these usages when innovating products, and strive to assist in LEED certification through LEED Innovation in Design credits. For instance, our GT Jams products can be utilized with the accompanying curriculum to meet National education standards in an outdoor classroom environment. The same can be said for our Play On! curriculum and corresponding playground designs. Employing this functionality saves energy otherwise used in an indoor class setting, while allowing children to benefit from exposure to fresh air and natural light.
Multiple studies have found correlations between exposure to daylight and improvement in standardized test scores, attentiveness, and overall mood of students. One study in particular, conducted by the Heschong Mehone Group, found that students in the Capistrano school district in California with more daylighting in their class progressed 20% faster on math tests, and 26% faster on reading tests than those with lesser exposure to natural light. In addition, students with the largest window areas progressed 15% faster in math and 23% faster in reading than those with small windows. Sunlight also encourages the production of vitamin D in the body, which has numerous health benefits.
Make it Clean
GameTime also takes responsibility for improvements that must be made internally to ensure our product manufacturing processes are as energy efficient as possible, thereby reducing our emissions toward our goal of carbon neutral. Each of our employees are tasked with the mission of seeking new methods to embrace that responsibility and create products that are better for the environment. We hold Kaizen events and lean manufacturing audits to assure that our processes produce the highest quality equipment while using the minimum resources required.
We already currently recycle 100% of all scrap metal, rotationally molded plastic, and paper, just check out our recycled information sheet to get more data on what we have diverted from the landfill! Our environmental team meets regularly to look for new ways to reduce our impact on the delicate balance of our ecosystem, including all aspects of production. We understand that the entire manufacturing process, not just the final product must be considered to truly make a difference for tomorrow. Through these processes and practices, we strive to eliminate the need for a carbon offset system by addressing our environmental impact early and often.
Plant a Tree
By considering nature when designing play spaces, we maximize appreciation of the natural environment while helping to conserve it. We provide grant funding and donations to The Trust for Public Land through projects that embrace the importance of preserving green space when planning a play environment. By doing so, we hope to increase the number of trees available to absorb the CO2 produced by the world's production. By focusing the efforts around play, these efforts will also foster an interest in conservation.
The Truth About Green
As the leading company in playground research and education, GameTime is concerned at the amount of "greenwashing" in our market place. We've addressed the most common issues below to help in your research and decision making.
Playground Products are LEED Certified (or can singlehandedly earn LEED points.)
No product of any kind is certifiable under LEED. LEED is a third-party certifi cation program and a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. It was developed by U.S. Green Building Council, an organization of which GameTime is a national corporate member.
Recycled Plastic Playgrounds are the Most Sustainable
While almost every playground manufacturer uses steel and aluminum, some choose to focus the sustainability spotlight on recycled plastic. Steel and aluminum share similar recycling value, and in some cases have an advantage over plastic counterparts.
Steel is unique in that it has an infi nite recycling loop, unlike plastic, it can be recycled over and over again without any loss of its inherent properties and strength. Hence, recycling steel is a never ending process, giving it a huge advantage in terms of sustainability. A recent study by APEAL shows that by integrating recycled steel into the manufacturing process the industry achieves higher energy savings and a lower output of CO2. This means that natural resources are saved for future generations and that energy use and CO2 emissions are signifi cantly reduced. Aluminum is not only easy to recycle, it's easy to source, as there is an abundance of it. Plastics do not retain the same strengths and properties post-recycle, so usage possibilities are reduced with each recycling. And we shouldn't overlook the fact that they are made from fossil fuels. So which is the path of greatest sustainability*The facts prove that we should not overlook recycled metals as an important component in green building!
Carbon Footprint Calculations
If a playground company wants to show you the "carbon footprint" of your chosen playground design, ask how it was calculated. Does it include the freight of the materials to their manufacturing facility, the jet and auto fuel used in the travel of company executives and sales personnel, the calculations for marketing materials used in the sales of the product. Chances are it's just the energy and waste generated in the manufacturing process, a nice gesture, but not an accurate calculation of total carbon footprint.
PVC has received a lot of attention, mostly on phthalate content. California has passed the most rigorous laws regarding PVC content and safety, so if you have any doubts, ask if your playground manufacturer's PVC coatings are California Compliant. Despite the lines clearly drawn between popular opinion, the fact remains that there are some very important products that are made of PVC, like the bags that hold lifesaving blood used in transfusions, the "second skin" used in many burn wards, as well as the safety packaging for many pharmaceuticals.
It is always best to lead by example and to look for examples of excellence to spark ideas for improvement. Data was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau and National Geographic Society's Green Guide to formulate the list below of the "Top 10 Greenest US Cities". The cities were scored based on their achievements in four broad categories: Electricity, Transportation, Green Living, Recycling and Green Perspective. As previously mentioned, playgrounds contain a large amount of recyclable material. For instance, lumber utilized in a play area can be re-used for landscaping around the facility as borders for a garden or part of a retaining wall. They can also be donated to local garden centers for the same purpose. The list below contains names of local area recyclers for these materials.
1. Portland, OR
*Steel, Aluminum (Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.)
*LLDPE, HDPE, Rubber (Denton Plastics Inc.)
*Rubber (RB Recycling)
*Nylon (Prime Meridian)
2. San Francisco, CA
*Steel, Aluminum (A-1 Scrap Metal)
*LLDPE, HDPE (National Recycling Corporation)
*Rubber (Tire Broker Inc.)
*Nylon (CSI Plastics)
3. Boston, MA
*Steel, Aluminum (Framingham Salvage Company)
*LLDPE, HDPE (City of Cambridge Recycling Drop-off Center)
*Rubber (L Fine & Co.)
4. Oakland, CA
*Steel, Aluminum (Berkley Recycling Center, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.)
*LLDPE, HDPE (National Recycling Corporation)
*Nylon (CSI Plastics)
*Rubber (Big O Tires, Bruce's Tires)
5. Eugene, OR
*Steel, Aluminum (Schnitzer Steel Industries, Lane County Dept. of Public Works)
*LLDPE, HDPE (Glenwood Central Receiving Station)
*Rubber (Glenwood Central Receiving Station)
6. Cambridge, MA
*Steel, Aluminum (Circle Recycling Inc.)
*LLDPE, HDPE (City of Cambridge Recycling Drop-Off Center)
*Rubber (L Fine & Co.)
7. Berkley, CA
*Steel, Aluminum, HDPE (Community Conservation Center)
*LDPE (rePlanet Recycling Center)
*Rubber (Berkley Transfer Station)
8. Seattle, WA
*Steel, Aluminum (Pacific Iron & Metal Co.)
*LDPE, HDPE (South Recycling and Disposal Station)
*Rubber (Pugit Sound Plastics Inc.)
9. Chicago, IL
*Steel, Aluminum (Metal Management Inc.)
*LDPE, HDPE (City of Chicago Recycling Drop-Off Center)
*Rubber (Lakin General)
10. Austin, TX
*Steel, Aluminum (Ecology Action)
*HDPE (BFI Recycling Center)
*Rubber (Three Points Automotive)
*There are many misconceptions about the LEED Green Building Rating System, and it is important to note that LEED certification only applies to projects, not products, although the use of efficient products can assist in attaining different levels of LEED certification.
Heschong Mehone Group Daylighting in Schools: An investigation into the Relationship Between Daylighting and Human Performance*(1999), 4-5.