Since the 1990s, PlayGuard Safety Surfacing has been manufacturing recycled rubber playground safety surfacing. As a brand of ECORE International, PlayGuard provides surfacing products for playgrounds as well as school gyms, sports centers, child day cares, indoor play areas, rooftops, and patios.
PlayGuard Safety Surfacing can trace its beginnings from a family-owned business that was started in the mid-1800s and has continued for five generations. The Dodge family founded the Dodge Cork Company in Bennington, Vermont.1 The company produced cork products, which included cork flooring, cork stoppers, and specialty items, such as cork placemats, trivets, and composition cork rolls for wall coverings and bulletin boards.2
When the demand for cork products declined, the Dodge family began to investigate alternative low-cost raw materials to complement their existing market knowledge and technology. Recycled rubber became their focus.3
The company grew and expanded to become Dodge-Regupol, Inc. in 1989 through a partnership between Dodge Cork Company and BSW (BerleburgerSchaumstoffwerk) of Bad Berleburg, Germany.4 BSW was involved in surfacing products for the construction and sports industries throughout Europe and Asia. Dodge-Regupol quickly grew as a North American producer of cork, cork/rubber, and recycled rubber materials. This partnership continued for 18 years with the headquarters located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In November 2007, the company announced they were dissolving the partnership, and the company in North America was renamed ECORE International Inc. in January 2008.5
Now operated by the great, great grandson of the founder of the Dodge Cork Company, Arthur B. Dodge III is the chairman and CEO of ECORE International.6 ECORE International retained its headquarters in Lancaster and also has a large manufacturing facility in York, Pennsylvania.7
With their commitment to utilizing resources wisely to protect the environment, ECORE International has found creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. ECORE International recycles “over 80 million pounds of tires annually into recycled rubber flooring.”8
At PlayGuard Safety Surfacing, these recycled tires are made into rubber tiles, which are used as playground surfacing in a variety of settings. All PlayGuard products meet the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) criteria of the State of Washington, an indoor air quality standard.9 Because PlayGuard tiles are PVC-free, are made of recycled rubber, and have low VOC emissions, they qualify for points for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.10 The PlayGuard product is manufactured using minimal water, no smokestacks, and reuses scrap to eliminate waste.11
PlayGuard Safety Surfacing is a supporter of the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and is IPEMA certified. Other affiliations include ASTM International, International Facility Management Association, International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, Construction Specifications Institute, American Institute of Architects, U.S. Green Building Council, and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.12
- 1. Quigley, Patricia. “Service to Country and Company.” ASTM International Standardization News. < http://www.astm.org/SNEWS/JANUARY_2004/people_jan04.html > 22 March 2011.
- 2. Dodge Cork. < http://www.dodgecork.com/ > 22 March 2011.
- 3. Morris, Katie. “Rubber Roots.” Recycling Today. < http://recyclingtoday.texterity.com/recyclingtoday/200904/?pg=168#pg168 > 22 March 2011.
- 4. “Dodge-Regupol.” AEC Daily. < http://aecdaily.com/en/207761abidx=1 > 22 March 2011.
- 5. “Regupol QT Becomes QTscu, QT Sound Insulation.” QT Sound Insulation. < http://www.qtscu.com/QTscu-soundproofing/news.htm > 22 March 2011.
- 6. “Dodge-Regupol Changes Name to Ecore International.” FloorDaily. < http://www.floordaily.net/Flooring-News/DodgeRegupol_Changes_Name_to_Ecore_International.aspx? > 22 March 2011.
- 7. Op. cit., Morris, Katie.
- 8. “Sustainability Commitment.” PlayGuard Safety Surfacing. < http://playguardsurfacing.com/sustainabilitycommittment.php > 26 Oct. 2010.
- 9. “Our Green Story.” PlayGuard Safety Surfacing. < http://www.playguardsurfacing.com/sustainability.php > 22 March 2011.
- 10. “PlayGuard Playground Safety Surfacing & LEED.” PlayGuard Safety Surfacing. < http://www.playguardsurfacing.com/pdfs/PlayGuard_LEED_Guide.pdf > 22 March 2011.
- 11. “Sustainability Commitment.” PlayGuard Safety Surfacing. < http://www.playguardsurfacing.com/sustainabilitycommittment.php > 22 March 2011.
- 12. “Corporate Overview.” PlayGuard Safety Surfacing. < http://www.playguardsurfacing.com/corporate_overview.php > 22 March 2011.