View of a playground on a sunny day.

Specification: Outdoor Furniture and Playground Structures

Outdoor Furniture and Playground Structures
Covered Products

This category shall cover picnic tables, benches, chairs and other outdoor furniture and playground structures.



Plastic Composite: Material composed of plastic resin and at least one other material including but not limited to wood, sawdust and fiberglass.

Thermoplastic: Plastics made of resins that soften when reheated. These plastics include but are not limited to high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Thermoset Plastic: Plastics made of resins that once cured will not soften when reheated. Thermoset resins include but are not limited to epoxies and acrylics.

Playground Structure: Swing set or other outdoor playset.

CCA: Chromated copper arsenate.


Standard Setting and Certifying Programs

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has developed a set of Principles and Criteria for forest management that is applicable to all FSC-certified forests throughout the world. There are 10 Principles and 57 Criteria that address legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts surrounding forest management. For more information:

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is a chain-of-custody certification that tracks fiber content from certified lands and responsible fiber sourcing through production and manufacturing to the end product. To be certified, companies must be audited to SFI Requirements. Through SFI chain-of-custody certification, a company can identify how much certified, responsible sourcing and/or recycled content is in a product. Chain-of-custody is verified by an independent third-party certification audit. For more information:

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) offers forest certification for family forest landowners that conform to the American Forest Foundation’s Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification. The American Forest Foundation, a 501c.3 not-for-profit, organization located in Washington, D.C. has sole responsibility for setting the AFF Standards. Through a voluntary process, family forests undergo third-party certification audits by independent, ANSI-ASW National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredited certification bodies. For more information:

Forests certified through the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Sustainable Forest Management System (SFM) certification standard provide independent third party assurance of meeting biological, environmental and social criteria. Once implemented the CSA SFM system provides customers with a measure of the portion of the product that has been sourced from a certified forest and an assurance that the uncertified portion is from legal and non-controversial sources. Recertification audits are required every 3 years along with annual surveillance audits. For more information:



Outdoor furniture and playground structures can be made of many materials including wood, plastic, plastic composite, aluminum, steel, and concrete. Each material has different sustainability criteria. Affected entities should purchase products that meet the following criteria.

  1. Wood-Based Products – All wood containing products must utilize only certified wood that meets the following criteria. Wood-based materials shall be originally sourced from forestlands participating in an acceptable system or program which certifies sustainable forest management, as determined by the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, or his/her designee. Acceptable systems or programs must include the following:
    1. adherence to management practices which conserve biological diversity, maintain productive capacity of forest ecosystems, maintain forest ecosystem health and vitality, conserve and maintain soil and water resources, and maintain forest contribution to global carbon cycles;
    2. independent third-party auditing that monitors, measures and reports compliance with system or program principles and guidelines; and
    3. documentation verifying that the wood-based products used have been obtained from lands enrolled under or participating in an acceptable certification system or program.

    Examples of approved certification organizations are listed under Standard Setting & Certification Programs above. Affected entities may not purchase treated wood products utilizing the copper chromium arsenate process.

  2. Non-wood-based Products -

    All non-wood or plastic composite products must be manufactured with the minimum recycled content as specified below. Minimum recycled content was established primarily through USEPA’s Recommended Content Levels for Park & Recreation Products. For more information visit

    ThermoPlastic – the plastic portion of the product must be composed of 100% recycled content and at least 90% post-consumer plastic.

    Thermoset Plastic – the plastic portion of the product must be composed of at least 50% post-industrial or post-consumer recycled content.

    Plastic composite (using thermoplastic) – the plastic portion of the product must be composed of 100% recycled content and at least 50% post-consumer content.

    Plastic composite (using thermoset plastic) – the plastic portion of the product must be composed of at least 50% post-industrial or post-consumer recycled content.

    Aluminum - must be composed of at least 25% post-consumer recycled content.

    Steel manufactured in a basic oxygen furnace - must be composed of 25% recycled content and at least 16% post-consumer content.

    Steel manufactured in an electric arc furnace - must be composed of 100% recycled content and at least 67% post-consumer content.

    Concrete - must be composed of a minimum of 15% recycled content.


Packaging shall comply with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%). 

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following in order of preference when purchasing items that come in packaging: 

  • Items that do not need packaging, or the packaging is part of the product. 
  • Items that come in reusable packaging. 
  • Items that come in bulk packaging. 
  • Items that come in innovative packaging that reduces the amount of packaging. 
  • Items that come in packaging that remains the property of the supplier and does not become the property of the end user under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws. 
  • Items that come in packaging that maximizes recycled or biodegradable (compostable) content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists that accept the material. 
  • Items that come in Packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable (compostable). Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists and will accept the material. 

Disposal of CCA-Treated Wood Products:

When new outdoor furniture or play structures replace a product composed of CCA-treated wood, the product to be replaced must be disposed of properly. In New York State, CCA-treated wood may be disposed of in construction & demolition (C&D) debris landfills and municipal solid waste landfills which are authorized to accept C&D debris. CCA-treated wood should never be burned or shredded for mulch. For more information, visit:


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