In the place of the traditional wood lumber from trees, recycled plastic lumber is also a very effective way in which building projects can become environmentally friendly. Recycled plastic lumber refers to wood-like products made of recovered plastic which is sometimes mixed with other materials such as wood-fillings as well as other recycled fiber. The complete product is then used as an alternative for wood, concrete, and even metals. Plastic such as polyester, phenolic, polystyrene and vinyl were first made in the early 1900s. Among the many kinds of building projects in which plastic lumber can be an effective raw material is in high density polyethylene plastic fencing.
Advantages of using Recycled Plastic Lumber
- Environmental friendly – one of the greatest benefits of using recycled plastic lumber is the fact that is an effective going green approach. By diverting plastics from landfills, you do justice to the environment because the non-degradable plastics that are deposited in landfills over time degrade the environment.
- Durable – the fact that this material is water resistant, chemical resistant, and nonporous makes it very durable. It is also resistant to insects and graffiti which make it very good for fencing system. Moreover, it does not crack or splinter which makes it good for playground equipment since it cannot splinter on hands or feet. The durability is also necessary for high density polyethylene plastic fencing.
- Easy to maintain – those who have had the experience of maintaining wood deck over years know how challenging, costly, and frustrating it can get sometimes. With recycled plastic wood, however, there is absolutely no maintenance required. Moreover, it comes pre-colored, therefore it does not require painting or staining.
- Economic – the icing on the cake is the fact that it is much more economical compared to timber or wood lumber. Whereas it may have a higher purchase price, when you figure the installation, replacement, disposal, and maintenance costs into the equation, you realize that recycled plastic lumber actually saves you good money over its lifetime. This is another property that makes high density polyethylene plastic fencing sustainable.
Types of recycled plastic lumber
- High Density Polyethylene – the main characteristic of this type is that it is made up of 95% HDPE, which is the same material that plastic milk jugs are made of. It is very suitable for landscape and decking solutions. Moreover, it comes in many colors which gives it a nice look and eliminates painting costs. However, it is much less stiff than wood and instead of using it for fencing, it is more suitable for perennial landscaping solutions.
- Commingled lumber – this one is made of recovered thermoplastic, which refers to a plastic that has the property of being re-melted and remolded into the desired end-product. It has 80 to 90% concentration of polyethylene. It is very economical and also well suited for landscaping solutions.
- Wood-Filled lumber – just like its name suggests this type is made up of recycled plastic mixed with sawdust. The plastic can also be mixed with other recycled fiber. It also contains 50% polyethylene. Moreover, it has the added benefits of fewest voids, greater surface roughness, and best traction which makes it a very good option for high density polyethylene plastic fencing.
- Fiber-Reinforced lumber – in this type the recycled plastic is mixed with strands of glass fiber that may be either chopped or continuous. It is well suited for support structures because it is usually firmer than other types of plastic lumber. As such, it is useful for playground equipment as well as high density polyethylene plastic fencing.
Benefits to the Community
The greatest benefit of recycled plastic lumber is the fact that it is environmentally friendly. However, it also has more benefits to the community such as the fact that it creates additional business and work opportunities. The fact that it has lower long-term maintenance costs than wood implies that it saves large-scale purchasers such as local governments and other organizations money. Moreover, it helps the local governments to dispose of hazardous landfills effectively. It also helps to make effective use of wood waste.