Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Recycled Plastic Lumber and Its Advantages

A Recycled Plastic Wood Profile

Due to deforestation there are changes in the environment, which need constant efforts to switch over to other products instead of using wood. Recycled plastic lumber (RPL) is a product resembling wood and is produced from recovered plastic generally mixed with some other materials. This is an environmental friendly synthetic wood and a cost-effective substitute for wood. It is available in different dimensional profiles and compositions for a wide variety of applications.

The different constituents are used to provide strength and durability to this product. Plastic Lumber is a good substitute for concrete and metals as well and being used in decking, landscaping, structural and recreational applications. These products are also being greatly accepted in industry, agriculture, transportation, marine, construction and many other fields.

There are different types of composite plastic wood available in the market. The manufacturing process involves shredding of plastics and mixing various stabilizers. These are then extruded into different sections or shapes. The composite product contains sawdust filled into plastic. This is a stiffer material and at the same time cheaper also.

All plastic lumber is also available for different uses. Another form of synthetic wood is produced by mixing plastic and fibreglass. Fibreglass reinforced lumber is a very expensive variety. It is quite strong for use as a structural material. Recycled polyethylene lumber is mostly used in decks and it has lesser rigidity compared to natural boards. The stiffness of this synthetic product is enhanced by addition of fibreglass. HDPE (High density polyethylene) is a typically used material. This type of material composes only HDPE and some stabilizers.

The recycled plastic lumber is nonporous, nontoxic and a clean product free from any metallic inclusions. It has many advantages. The product is resistant to rot in wet environments. In addition it resists cracking, splintering and peeling. It is not attacked by insects, bacteria or barnacles. For this reason the material is widely used in building playground structures and even benches for parks and gardens. Moreover, graffiti will not stick to these products. The use of recycled plastic wood eliminates the need to use any toxic sealant to avoid moisture damage. It is durable material and requires least amount of maintenance.

However, there is drawback with the mix made using saw dust. Though the use of sawdust makes the plastic product stiffer and imparts it a natural look, but it can be attacked by the insects and gets damaged by moisture. For this reason, the other types of plastic timber are preferred.

Another advantage with recycled plastic wood is that it can be recycled like many plastics and need not be thrown. There are some companies, which can be contacted to recycle the old synthetic wood. It will be recycled properly to make fresh HDPE or other products.

Plastic lumber is mostly being used by municipalities and government organization. Homeowners still hesitate to look at it as a substitute for wood, as it is still in the process of evolving standards and systems of material testing. Though the initial cost of this artificial lumber is comparatively higher than that of natural wood, it will last longer and involve a lower maintenance. In the long run, it will be economical to use this substitute product instead of traditional natural lumber. Further, the continued research efforts and the increased demand will bring down its cost and make it more popular.