Upcycled Playgrounds: Joyful Play Spaces with Discarded Materials

The concept of upcycling is as unique as it is creative and sustainable, transforming discarded items that might otherwise clutter the landfills into vibrant new spaces in the form of upcycled playgrounds. Below, we have listed a few of these extremely innovative playgrounds—unique, engaging spaces where brands, non-profits, and individuals have crafted extraordinary play equipment from upcycled materials. These projects have a commitment towards environmental care and inventive reuse, giving discarded materials a second life as fun and interactive play elements for children's enjoyment and development.


YiPPee! Better World: Create Magic - Upcycled Play Equipment 

Sunfeast Yipee, the famous noodles brand, set out on an upcycling initiative in partnership with The Times of India. This exclusive upcycling project was aimed to rejuvenate children's parks in various Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata, by installing vibrant and colourful playground equipment made from upcycled plastic waste. The initiative began with a collection drive to gather plastic waste, which was then cleaned, segregated, and meticulously processed to be transformed into playground equipment such as benches, swings, and see-saws. This upcycling initiative renews urban parks in raising awareness about the importance of upcycling plastic waste and preventing it from reaching landfills.

(Image credit: Sunfeast YiPPee x The Times of India)


Pooja Rai's Upcycled Playground Equipment

Bangalore-based Anthill Creations, founded by Pooja Rai, is a non-profit organisation that designs sustainable playground equipment for children, particularly focusing on the underprivileged. Rai, who has a background in architecture, was inspired to start this initiative after noticing a scarcity of play options for children in parks. Anthill Creations repurposes discarded tyres into engaging and colourful playground equipment such as slides and see-saws, providing children with joyful and safe play areas. With creatively reusing scrap materials, this organisation has successfully installed these innovative playgrounds across various Indian states, addressing the significant issue of tyre waste that often ends up in landfills. This initiative enriches the lives of children and contributes to the environmental mission of reducing waste.

(Image credit: Anthill Creations, CEO Pooja Rai)


IAS Officer Dhatri Reddy's Playground Initiative

Project Play, led by Dhatri Reddy, an IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, is an upcycling initiative which aimed at creating low-cost playground equipment for underprivileged children. The project focused on repurposing discarded pipes such as metal and PVC pipes, along with discarded tyres from bicycles and cars sourced from local shops. These materials are transformed into various play elements, breathing new life into waste that would otherwise contribute to landfill. Through this noble effort, Project Play has successfully established 58 upcycled playgrounds, offering safe and joyful play spaces for children by promoting environmental sustainability and community engagement.

(Image credit: Project Play by IAS Officer Dhatri Reddy)


20,000 Upcycled Sneakers Playground

In 2021, Nike, the globally recognised footwear brand, launched an outstanding upcycling project in Belgrade, Serbia, in collaboration with Accept & Proceed, a creative design agency based in London. This innovative initiative focused on upcycling 20,000 sneakers, which Nike transformed into a comprehensive playground with fitness equipment and an upcycled basketball court. Accept & Proceed had a collection drive in Belgrade, setting up bins to gather used sneakers for the project. This initiative was a part of Nike's 'Move to Zero' movement to build a zero-carbon and zero-waste project. Nike and Accept & Proceed provided a new, sustainable space for community fitness and recreation with environmental responsibility in the creation of public spaces.

(Image credit: Nike x Accept & Proceed)


Upcycled Windmill Playground.

Superuse, an architecture firm based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, crafted an upcycled playground from retired wind turbine blades, the Blade Made circular playground. This innovative project repurposes end-of-life, decommissioned wind turbine blades into creative and engaging playground equipment, including slides and towers. The fun elements and abstract shapes derived from the original blades were built to provide unique play experience. Through carefully reusing an old playground and integrating them with the upcycled wind turbine blades, Superuse stays committed to sustainability and the circular economy. This initiative provides a new lease on life for industrial materials and creates a fascinating and environmentally friendly space for children to play and explore.

(Image credit: Superuse Studios Upcycled Windmill Playground)

The journey of innovative upcycling extends into various sectors, as shown by the creation of upcycled playgrounds. These projects bring creativity and joy, offering children colourful and nurturing environments for play and also in raising awareness on environmental sustainability. These playgrounds, by repurposing reclaimed materials, encourage the value of upcycling and the potential to extend life of discarded materials, benefiting our planet and future generations.

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