Are Recycled Plastic/Composite Building Materials The Future?
Recycled plastic has unique physical properties. Some of the properties will vary with the specific composition, but in general, plastic is lightweight, sanitary and resistant to corrosion, rot, mold and chemical attack. Plastic can be plentiful and cheap, depending on geography and recyling industries. Virtually every country has their own domestically produced waste stream so the future of plastic building materials may be less susceptible to global supply chain issues
Recycled plastic/composite material can be used to make quite a few building materials including boards, roof tiles, flooring, insulation, siding, concrete filler, bricks and blocks. Perhaps the most popular product of recent has been plastic “lumber.” Several companies make recycled plastic lumber that are available in standard lumber sizes. The plastic can be molded to have a woodgrain texture and look like the original material. Decking material is the most often use of these lumber alternatives
Many public parks feature wooden walkways, benches and piers out into ponds and lakes. These wooden planks must be replaced periodically, as they rot and crack over time. Most people like the thought of using recycled plastic instead of cutting down a tree, and they like the fact that the benches look like wood, but do not absorb water, making them unusable for longer after rain, and they have no splinters. Overall, they are an attractive alternative to wood planking.
While the specifics of how each recycled plastic building material is made varies between products, the general idea is simple. Waste plastic is sorted and then shredded to improve size consistency and composition between particles and to ensure proper melting and adhesion. Additives, such as adhesive binding agents and UV stabilizers are added to the melt to improve life span and stability of the component, as well as dyes, plasticizers and other polymeric components. From there, the material is cast or injected into molds.
Other recycled plastic building materials include plastic blocks and bricks, plastic floor tiles and plastic roof tiles.
SouAD MORErce: GlobalSpec