Dr. Composites here, back again from the break! Hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful!
I've got another question and answer for y'all today. Jodie from Houston asks: What kind of recycled material is in composite decking? Is it harmful to me?
Great question, Jodie! The answer is a little tricky as every manufacturer uses a different method and has different sources for their recycled material. To make things easier, I'll try to give you a generalization of where most people get their material. First, we must understand exactly what composite decking is, which is generally accepted to be decking produced from a mix of 2 different types of material.
For composite decking, one of these materials must be wood or some other organic material. This organic material is usually procured from old pallets or saw dust. The second piece, plastic, is where we in the industry have a large range of materials to draw from. Importantly, most of the plastic used for decking is post-consumer (meaning the plastic has already been used and is in the process of being recycled). The primary category of plastics that companies like NewTechWood, Trex and Fiberon use is Ole?n. These plastics will be the type found in your every day grocery bags, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, etc. These plastics are ?rst heated and then melted together. Afterwards this melted mess is ground into a form to be used with the organic material I mentioned earlier.
New players in the industry today are using different types of plastics. One of these companies, Nylodeck, uses carpet ?bers to make composite decking. I’m sure the future will see more innovative and fresh ideas brought to the table to help recycle the literal tons of plastics that are thrown away each and every year.
I know that was a long winded answer to your question, Jodie, but as you can see there is nothing toxic or harmful to you in the materials used in composite decking.
Until next week, this is Dr. Composites signing off.