Park District installs Illinois’ first playground with equipment made of recycled ocean waste

Posted on: May 25, 2023

Glen Ellyn Park District recently opened a new eco-friendly playground at Sunset Park–the first of its kind in Illinois–made from post-consumer recycled materials such as ocean waste, used textiles, and plastic bags.

The newly-renovated playground uses sustainably-conscious equipment purchased from playground manufacturer KOMPAN, whose GreenLine products are developed by repurposing post-consumer waste, giving new life to materials, and reducing carbon emissions.

“The Park District strives to be a role model for the best sustainable practices in the community,” said Nathan Troia, Park District Superintendent of Planning and Natural Resources. “Replacing the nearly 30-year-old playground with this unique and environmentally friendly equipment and reducing our carbon footprint is one of the many steps the District is taking to achieve that goal.”

Located at 483 Fairview Avenue, the playground includes play towers with slides and varied climbing features, a large spinning ring, swings, and geometric-shaped climbing blocks. It also features a gathering hammock and somersault bars. It is designed to appeal primarily to children ages 2 through 12. A small shelter with picnic tables was added near the playground to supply shade.

“KOMPAN has always been a trendsetter in playground design and development, but the GreenLine is beyond revolutionary,” said KOMPAN Representative Tiffanie Sperling. “We are thrilled to work with the Glen Ellyn Park District, who has shown their dedication to the health and well-being of their community and the environment as a whole by being the first in Illinois to have this eco-friendly playground.”

Sunset Park’s playground was last renovated in 1993.

“Due to the age of the equipment, the non-profit organization Kids Around the World was unable to refurbish and reuse the existing playground structure,” said Troia.

The District plans to continue park improvements by renovating Sunset Pool as part of the voter-approved referendum in 2022. The outdoor pool will have new water slide features, splash pad, zero-depth water play area, family changing areas, shade structures, and outdoor seating. Unseen but important infrastructure upgrades–to benefit first-time swimmers and adult lap swimmers alike–include upgrades to pool pumps to keep pool water clean and safe. Construction is set to begin in mid-August 2023.