Article 2 – this is the second of a three-part blog series that focuses on innovation, conserving the environment and helping reduce plastic waste.

Plastic waste that is dumped, tossed and blown into the ocean is harmful to marine life and the aquatic environment. Many innovative companies are working to reduce the millions of tons of plastic in the ocean by repurposing it into creative and useful products. Bedford Technology manufactures structural recycled plastic lumber that is environmentally-friendly and when submerged in water, it doesn’t leach chemicals or have harmful effects on sea creatures or the aquatic environment.

Environmental Benefits of HDPE Plastic Lumber

Structural recycled plastic lumber is a marine-grade building material that is non-leaching and non-polluting. Unlike traditional wood, plastic lumber doesn’t need to be chemically-treated for longevity and durability, so when installed in water, it is safe for marine life. It doesn’t deteriorate or break down due to moisture and it is resistant to salts, oils, marine borers, crustaceans, and chemicals naturally found in seawater.

4 Underwater Applications Made from Recycled Plastic

Here are four applications that are constructed out of recycled plastic and installed in water that are not harmful to the underwater environment or marine life. In other words, not all plastic found in water is a bad thing.

Aquafarming (Aquaculture)

Aquafarming provides complete systems to cultivate aquatic life (like fish and oysters) in a controlled environment. These systems are primarily used to increase food production, rebuild endangered species populations and restore damaged habitats. These pod-like structures are installed underwater, and are enclosed to help regulate feeding and harvesting of the aquatic life. When manufactured from plastic lumber, these structures are non-polluting in the underwater environment. They will not break down, rot or degrade, and instead of harming marine life, these plastic structures will help create more.

Marine Substructure

Docks, piers and wharves used for pedestrian, commercial and maritime traffic and are installed in water. Traditionally, piles, fenders, crossbeams and dock substructure components (like joists and stringers) are constructed from wood, metal and concrete. These materials break down due to long-term exposure to water. With plastic lumber, these components will stay intact and keep the marine environment healthy by not causing disruption to the natural habitat.  

Shoreline Maintenance – including groynes, retaining walls and wave attenuation

Shoreline maintenance applications like groynes, retaining walls and wave attenuation are installed in or under water and help control wave energy coming to shore and retain soil and sand. Plastic lumber is an environmentally-friendly building material that is unlike the other plastic found in the ocean. This material is durable, doesn’t break down and is resistant to chemicals so it won’t be affected by seawater that causes degradation and rot.

Seawalls and Bulkheads

Coastal defense and earth retention are the main purposes for seawalls and bulkheads. Using a building material that can withstand extreme environments and won’t leach chemicals (like traditional treated wood) into the water is crucial for project success. Plastic lumber that is reinforced with fiberglass polymer rebar combines superior strength and deflection properties best-suited for seawalls and bulkheads without harming the aquatic environment.

Partner with Bedford Technology for Safe Underwater Building Material Solutions!

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