Companies dedicated to the production of plastic products have long realized that this is an industry with explosive growth. However, simply stating that the plastics industry is growing is a somewhat simplistic view of what is happening. In reality, if analyzed correctly, this growth is actually moving into a whole new direction, that of the eco-friendly or sustainable plastic product.
In essence, plastics are now being used to replace other raw materials we have used for centuries. In this article, we want to look at the plastic product being used to replace wood and other similar materials that have long put a strain on the world’s natural resources.
Why Replace The Natural Resources with Plastic
Basically, there are two reasons for wanting to replace natural resource products with plastic. The first is because plastic prevents the need to cut, diminish or reduce natural resources such as trees. The second is the fact that plastic is more economical and durable. This lower cost means lower overall housing and structural costs as well.
Let’s Take a Look!
To illustrate how we see this change happening, let’s take a look at a new innovative product; one that may be the first of its type on the market.
A few leading industries are considering the manufacture or have already introduced a new product into their line. It is a type of plastic lumber or structural component. The purpose is to replace materials made with lumber or wood. This new line of plastic product, made of both virgin and recycled plastic material, is quickly transcending the lumber counterparts.
This Is Not a Composite Material
Plastic construction materials is not a new thing. However, up until now, most plastic wood construction products have been a composite material ( a combination of plastic and wood). The new plastics product being introduced into the market is constructed wholly with plastic and/or recycled plastics. Worth noting here is that these new products are fast replacing wood planks and flooring.
What Are the Implications of Replacing Wood with Plastic Wood?
The idea behind this new and innovative product line is to create a more durable product. One that is also sustainable and prevents the misuse of trees.
Cost Effective and Durable Plastics
Construction engineers are also thinking of using these new plastic-wood products because of their durability. For instance, engineers who are now reconstructing the Coney Island Pier, are using recycled plastic planks over steel/reinforced structures. In the future, we will see what once was a wood boardwalk, now a plastic wood one.
How Is Plastic Wood Fabricated?
Plastic wood and the plastic composite screws used to attach this product are mostly made of high-density polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. These are substances that can be recovered from waste. It is this that makes products like this more sustainable.
As in all industries, there are plastics companies that are more conscientious of the planet than others. The organizations that decide to manufacture these types of products are also dedicated to preserving the environment as the production of these new products convert and use millions of pounds of recycled plastic.
How Long Have Plastic Companies Worked on Sustainable Products
Many organizations have considered the idea for decades and began the research back in the early 1970s. However, in the initial years, the idea of using sustainable plastic to replace wood was met with resistance. Other industries believed the product would not be resistant enough. However, the research has continued and products are continually tested for endurance.
Other Types of Plastic Composites Used Similarly
Today products are developed made of pure plastic, but also in combination with other materials such as agricultural fibers like coconut and bamboo. In some cases, manufacturers are also combining fiberglass with plastic to create other construction material substitutes.
The Benefits of Using Plastic
These types of plastic products are practically maintenance-free. They do not need sanding, scraping refinishing or staining. These benefits are certainly important, however, they are not the primary benefit to using this material. The reason why pure plastic is now considered as a substitute for many other materials is that the newer plastic-made material is eco-friendly and will not rot or mildew.
What Is The Market for Full Plastic-Made Construction Materials?
Obviously, this opens a whole new market in the construction field. Floors, foundations, walls and even ceilings can be made with these plastic products. But other markets can also benefit. Automotive parts, pallets, benches, picnic table, chairs and many other areas where timber is used can be substituted for this new product.
In Conclusion, We Can Say…
The plastics industry is not oblivious to the need for products to be more sustainable. To the contrary, they have been working at this concept for decades. However, it is the public sector that is only just now accepting these new conceptual and innovative products.