Friday, September 24, 2010

Mulch is mulch! So what is the difference?

There are many processes to create “mulch.” Chipped wood often comes from a chipper machine and utilizes reclaimed or recycled materials.  Sharp pieces and contaminants must be removed.  Is it possible to filter through a dump truck load of material looking for a tip of a nail that came from a recycled pallet that has been ground up?  Is it possible to locate materials that may have been contaminated from oil, pesticides or chemicals and remove them from this bulk of materials?  This material may also be called “playground mulch” or “Children Cushion” to further confuse this choice. This type of material is not recommended for playgrounds.
Most often used in your flower bed, and commonly available.  The source of the raw material is usually not known, and it is not certified as contaminant or chemical free.  The process of double shredding causes this product to decompose rapidly.  The purpose of playground surfacing it to attenuate (reduce impact) falls to the surface.  The purpose of mulch in your garden is aesthetic, nutritional and to retain moisture.  This causes the economical choice to become more expensive and more hazardous in the medium and long term scope of use. This type of material is not recommended for playgrounds.
This is the recommended wood product for use in the playground. It is uniform in size, made from pine or hardwoods.  There are no leaves or bark in the mixture. It does not contain pesticides, chemicals or contaminants.  You can only be assured of the safety and quality of your materials in this class of surfacing by appropriate certification.  IPEMA manufacturers follow strict process guidelines, and must have certified testing conducted on their products.
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