Wood working11.10.2011

Wood chips form a safe base for playgrounds

City playgrounds are an entirely new business area for Koskisen.akentamiseen.

City playgrounds are an entirely new business area for Koskisen.

Bark and wood chips generated at Koskisen’s production units have gained a strong foothold in landscaping. The latest coup for the material is children’s playgrounds and parks, where hardwood chips from Koskisen’s plywood mill are being used as a protective surfacing under climbing frames.

Bark used for landscaping purposes is a new business for Koskisen. It is a natural extension to existing operations, since Koskisen already utilises softwood logs from root to tip either in production or as bioenergy.

The uses for the wood chips, which are generated as a processing by-product, are limited only by the imagination. Last summer, Koskitukki was asked if the company would provide wood chips to the Laune playground in Lahti. Some of the climbing frames at the playground are situated on a slope, and the safety gravel was not staying in place. The problem was solved with hardwood chips; according to Koskitukki’s Bioenergy Manager, Juha Hyvärinen, a total of 150 cubic metres were delivered to the playground.

- City playgrounds are an entirely new business area for us, and we are happy to offer various wood chips and bark mulch in future, too. Hardwood chips are perfect for use under climbing frames, since there’s no threat of splinters. And it is, after all, a pure product of nature, says Hyvärinen.

Products on a case-by-case basis

According to Seija Nurkkala, Landscaping Director at the City of Lahti, the city has not made an official decision on the use of wood chips as a standard protective surface material.

- Needs and materials will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The situation at the Laune playground was more challenging than usual, and, in that case, wood chips were the best solution. Some of the parents think the wood chips are a good idea, some don’t, she says.

Hyvärinen says Koskisen’s first summer as a supplier of mulch lived up to expectations. The bigger customers consisted of landscaping professionals, gardening centres and city landscaping departments.

- We will start stocking up on mulch for next summer already in the winter. It seems that demand for it is good and we will tailor the products according to our customers’ needs, he concludes.