With no signs of slowing down, society’s consumption of resources is depleting the planet of useable materials for all kinds of products while also creating pollution. After people are done with structures and items, both large and small, many of those objects are thrown out and sit in the landfill. There, they do nothing but take up space and make those areas inhospitable to the plants and wildlife that would normally reside there. People are recognizing these growing problems and making strides toward better sustainability through changes in daily living habits and greater public and commercial processes. The application of plastic lumber in building or development projects, like parks, is an example of this. Let’s dive into the environmental benefits of plastic furniture for parks and why you should consider it for future renovations and completely new outdoor recreational spaces.
Diverts Plastic From Landfills
A principal advantage of using plastic wood for park furniture is that it diverts plastic from landfills. In contrast to other materials, plastic lumber is not harvested from nature or created fresh in a factory. Instead, plastic lumber manufacturers take the plastic waste products that people finish using and recycle them into this form. Specifically, those recycled items must be composed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which then becomes the primary ingredient in plastic lumber. HDPE may be found in shampoo and conditioner containers, milk jugs, laundry detergent and fabric softener bottles, plastic bags and wrappings, and margarine tubs.
If those everyday items were not recycled into plastic lumber, many of them would wind up in a landfill where they would sit indefinitely since they are not biodegradable. Tons of HDPE plastic that would otherwise end its life as trash can have life breathed back into it when it is cleaned, melted, and fashioned into plastic wood. Builders can then make furniture and fixtures such as benches, tables, and playground equipment that parks need.
Lasts a Long Time
Some other park furniture materials aren’t as durable as plastic lumber and don’t last as long. We’ll compare plastic lumber with wood because it is the more traditional choice and is the material that plastic lumber mimics in appearance and utility. Wood has a pleasant and familiar appearance that meshes well in the outdoor setting of parks. However, since it is was once part of a living tree, it will begin to decompose and break down. Wood can get eaten by insects or start to rot because of mold and other microorganisms that thrive in moist conditions. It is also often vulnerable to chipping, scratching, and peeling as it breaks down. In this state, those in charge of a park must replace furniture, consuming new wood.
Plastic lumber is not predisposed to these pitfalls. That same nondeteriorating nature that makes it harmful in landfills works to its benefit in park furniture. It will stand unchanged and unweakened by the various elements and organisms it comes into contact with. As a result, there is less need to use up more resources in the park’s maintenance.
Does Not Give Off Chemicals
An additional drawback of certain materials that can be used for park furniture is that they emit harmful chemicals. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a type of plastic distinct from the HDPE in plastic wood. People can create furniture from PVC, as with HDPE, but PVC can produce toxic gas (dioxins) when it is heated (during manufacture) or placed in landfills. It can even transfer unsafe compounds to people simply through touch (phthalates and other chemicals). By reconstituting PVC into plastic lumber for park furniture instead, you can avoid the environmental damage resulting from PVC use.
Additionally, wood can also be a source of danger because of the sealing substances people apply to it. To protect wood from water and decay, chemicals are painted onto the surface of outdoor wood furniture and structures periodically. Unfortunately, these substances can start to bleed into the ground, hurting plants and other organisms living in the park. Plastic lumber does not have this same drawback since it requires no chemical treatment to stay tough and visually attractive.
May Be Recycled Again
Despite its great resilience, there may come a time when you want to replace or remove some furniture as the park’s needs change. Should this ever happen, you don’t need to worry about throwing away the furniture and having a negative environmental impact. Just as plastic wood is initially made from recycled products, so too can it be recycled once again, with the HDPE within it finding another use. Plastic lumber isn’t just limited to park furniture; it can become the building material for retaining walls, decks, boardwalks and docks, fences, signs, and any outdoor structure or object you could construct from wood. When you choose plastic wood for your park furniture, you are playing into an environmental effort that has a far-reaching effect and will reduce waste in the present and the future.
Can Promote Recycling by Individuals
The final environmental benefit of plastic furniture for parks is one that is less direct than the rest. You can promote recycling and greater public awareness of sustainability with your plastic lumber furniture. It’s possible to draw attention to the importance of recycling by putting up a sign on the park premises that explains how all the furniture has been created from recycled material. People’s eyes will open up to the potential of recycling since the average consumer does not often see where the plastic they throw in recycling bins ends up. They will in turn become more motivated to continue and/or increase their recycling efforts, knowing that societal necessities like public structures may be crafted from repurposed materials.
So take a step toward saving the environment by utilizing plastic lumber in your park furniture today. You can obtain the recycled plastic building materials you need by calling Bedford Technology. We supply several versions of plastic lumber in a range of colors and textures so that it can naturally fit into any park, whatever the design.