Eco-Friendly Decking: Recycled Plastic Lumber

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell is an award-winning deck builder and designer who specializes in urban decking, transforming cityscapes with his creative constructions. He is a second-generation deck builder.

Table of Contents

While some people choose wood decking for aesthetics, others prefer it because it seems more environmentally friendly. The problem is that pressure-treated lumber cannot be burned or recycled once its days as a deck are over. Untreated lumber products just won’t last. Plus, the depletion of forests around the world has us looking in new directions to find the most eco-friendly products, including recycled plastic lumber.

What is Recycled Plastic Lumber?

For those with an eye on sustainability, products like green composite decking from Trex may be just what you’re looking for. This product is made from 95 percent reclaimed wood and plastic film and only five percent new material.

The recycled wood comes from local sources that are on their way to a landfill, along with reclaimed sawdust. The source of recycled plastic material comes from a variety of household sources, including shopping bags, newspaper sleeves, and other plastic packaging. That’s right, the grocery bag we all have that’s full of more shopping bags could be used to build new decking!

Trex also works closely with its vendors and suppliers to ensure each operates ethically and using responsible practices. Almost all of their vendors are located in the United States, and the company conducts regular assessments of their supply chain. Trex continually works to reduce its environmental impact wherever it is possible.

What About the Processing?

Using recycled and reclaimed materials is only half the battle when creating sustainable products as often, the process of recycling and manufacturing can negate the good deed. Trex has worked hard to create a process that is as green as the final product. Their proprietary process has eliminated the use of smokestacks, and almost 100 percent of factory runoff can be recycled back into the manufacturing line.

The result is decking that has a smaller carbon footprint than wood. Although the processing method is proprietary, that doesn’t mean that Trex is keeping all its secrets. In fact, Trex works with leaders across the deck builders industry to collaborate on ways to transform construction into an industry that is both environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

Does Eco-Friendly Decking Look Good?

We’ll cut right to the chase here: Trex composite decking looks just as good as a natural wood product, and in many cases, it looks even better! To start, the product is manufactured to mimic the characteristics of natural wood decking, including replicating natural wood grain and variation from board to board. Right from the start, the product is as close as it gets to regular lumber.

Now, let’s check in with a deck that’s spent several seasons in the harsh winter and hot summer and see how each is holding up. Even if you’ve been staining, sealing, or painting that natural wood decking every season, the composite decking is definitely coming out ahead! Recycled plastic decking does not suffer damage from pests and insects, does not fade from the sun, will not rot, split, or splinter, and never needs refinishing.

In fact, Trex guarantees at least 25 years of nearly maintenance-free beauty from their composite decking!

Complete Peace of Mind

Using recycled materials is not enough when looking for environmentally friendly products for your home. The manufacturing process must also be sustainable. The resulting products must be made to last so they stay out of the landfill for longer. Trex ensures that their recycled products check all these boxes. They also providing decades of enjoyment for homeowners in Frankfort, and across the Chicagoland area.

To learn more about environmentally friendly decking for your home, contact the experts at Mitchell Construction today.