Some estimates say nearly nine million tons of plastic waste flow into the ocean every year. Could the answer to this pollution problem be found on the nearest dock?
Today, innovative manufacturers are converting plastic waste materials into beautiful and durable marine dock boards. Beyond docks and piers, you’ll find plastic lumber being used to create other wetland and waterfront structures, outdoor furniture and more.
One of the chief complaints about plastics is that they don’t degrade. The flip-side to that concern is that plastics last…a long time. When it’s a milk container that won’t biodegrade, it’s a problem. But when that same milk container is ground up, washed, dried and turned into something useful and durable, it’s a different story.
Milk containers, grocery bags, plastic film…you name it. Any plastics that can be recycled are being sorted and processed to make all manner of useful products. Some companies are even making bridges and railway ties out of recycled plastics. It’s possible with the right engineering to turn thin, light, leftover pieces of plastic into structurally sound lumber. The U.S. Army has multiple bridges on its military bases made of recycled plastic. To demonstrate their strength, Army personnel drove a 70-ton Abrams tank across one of their bridges during its official unveiling.
An innovative alternative to wood, plastic holds great potential. While wood is susceptible to damage from insects and the weather, and often treated with hazardous chemical preservatives, plastics don’t have those problems. And a single manufacturer can divert tens of thousands of tons of plastics from our waste stream each year, turning it into beautiful, durable plastic lumber.
Wood has long been a go-to material for all kinds of construction. Today, plastic is giving it a run for the money. Manufacturers are giving new life to pieces of plastic that might otherwise have ended up in a landfill or floating in our oceans, having a negative impact on aquatic life.
As more people enjoy plastic lumber around their homes, hopefully we’ll see fewer pieces of plastic adrift at sea.
Look for more news about plastic lumber from the Norton Agency in the future as we help promote premium, greener solutions for the building industry.