Composite Decking Leader Raising Recycling Awareness for Plastics
WINCHESTER, VA, Apr 15, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — For Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing products, being “green” is easy. The company, which invented the composite decking category, was literally built on the use of sustainable materials. In 1992, long before the term “green” was even on the scene, Trex began reclaiming and reusing plastic bags and wood scraps to make a new and innovative decking material. Now, after 20 years in business and literally billions of pounds of recycled material later, the company is encouraging Americans to think about Earth Day every day and to help in its efforts to continue turning trash into treasure in the form of beautiful, high-performance Trex(R) outdoor living products.
One of the largest recyclers of plastic in the U.S., Trex uses more than 1.5 billion plastic bags to make its eco-friendly outdoor living products each year. However, its decking products are mostly made up of other post-consumer plastics and types of polyethylene that many don’t even know can — and should — be recycled.
“In addition to plastic grocery and retail bags, Trex reuses polyethylene plastic from a wide variety of common household items — such as case overwraps, sandwich/bread bags, newspaper sleeves and dry cleaning bags — to create products that offer a superior alternative to wood and an environmentally responsible choice to consumers,” said Dave Heglas, director of material resources for Trex Company.
“Sometimes we forget all the little pieces of plastic film we use every day that don’t have to be trash,” noted Heglas. “But it’s easy to recycle all of that material, and we want consumers to know that it can add up to something beautiful — like our Trex products.”
Elevating Awareness At the forefront of the green movement since its founding, Trex sponsors and supports a variety of recycling programs and solutions working with many local and national recycling groups and trade associations. These include: the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group, Society of the Plastics Industry, Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. A major project this past year was the Wisconsin WRAP program focused on increasing the amount of plastic recycled in the state of Wisconsin.
“We are always forming new education efforts and work closely with businesses and community members who want to help,” said Heglas. “All of these relationships help us to further our recycling mission and provide us with the materials we need to continue providing high-performance, beautiful decking for today’s eco-conscious homeowners.”
Trex also supports a multitude of recycling solutions on the local level, and continues to expand its support of “green” initiatives in communities across the country.
“We coordinate recycling programs in various states and communities that account for a large portion of our manufacturing material,” explained Heglas. “These programs do a phenomenal amount of work. In fact, our work in Minnesota with Merrick, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides employment for adults with disabilities, hit a major milestone last year — one million tons of plastic recycled — that’s quite an amazing amount of material and very important to our business.”
Since 2008, this program — the first of its kind — has drawn such diverse participants as dry cleaners, independent grocery stores, hospitals, a horse stable and Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres). Plastics are collected and taken to mini-balers in waste yards or other locations, where they are compressed into 50-pound bales and then transported to Trex manufacturing facilities. The company’s goal is to make mini-balers available to municipalities in every state in the U.S.
Grassroots Green In addition to its great relationships with businesses and municipalities, Trex also has inspired several grassroots efforts by consumers who truly care about recycling and want to help both the environment and the company.
One example, shared by Heglas, is an initiative that started with just a few community members in Kingsport, Tenn. Stacy Jerrell and Melissa Keeler — employees at Bays Mountain Park — heard about the Trex School Recycling Challenge from Jerrell’s hometown of Lee County, Va., and worked out an agreement with Trex to replace one bench in the park for every 10,000 plastic bags collected. The program started with a lot of local promotion and eventually grew to a collection of more than 650,000 plastic bags — or 65 park benches.
Since that initial collection, the project organizers started their own mini-baler program and gained participation from seven other local groups. The initiative has since been taken over by the Salvation Army in the area and continues to be extremely successful.
“It’s very easy to start programs like these and we would love to have advocates in every state to further promote awareness of environmental issues and help to maintain a constant supply of recycled materials,” said Heglas. “The evidence of their hard work is not only in the environment, but in the full-circle addition of beautiful Trex benches throughout their park.”
For more information about Trex’s eco-friendly products, processes and programs, visit http://www.trex.com/inspiration/video-gallery/always-green/ .
About Trex Company Trex Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of high performance wood-alternative decking and railing, with more than 20 years of product experience. Stocked in more than 6,700 retail locations worldwide, Trex outdoor living products offer a wide range of style options with fewer ongoing maintenance requirements than wood, as well as a truly environmentally responsible choice. For more information, visit trex.com. You also can follow Trex on Twitter (@Trex_Company), Pinterest (trexcompany), or Houzz (trex-company-inc) “like” Trex on Facebook, or view product and demonstration videos on the brand’s YouTube channel (TheTrexCo).
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