When it comes time to rebuild your city’s boardwalk, make sure you know your stuff. Environmental groups may try to convince you that Composite Decking is more of a “green” product than real wood. That’s simply not true. In fact, buying exotic lumber is actually the best way to protect the rainforests — and, by extension, the global ecosystem. But that’s just one of many reasons we highly recommend avoiding Composite Decking as you rebuild your boardwalk.
All Scratched Up
Nothing looks worse than a deck that’s all scratched up, agreed? Well, when you consider the facts that Composite Decking is made from polyethylene and that it lacks the hardness necessary to hold up under extreme foot traffic, you’ll begin to see why scratching will easily occur. But the issue isn’t just aesthetic. When scratched, the thin cap stock exposes the inner wood flour core to water and mold.
Because they realize how scratch-prone their products are, most Composite Decking manufacturers explicitly warn against using metal snow shovels on their surface. We’re pretty sure they mean a large metal plow could cause problems, too. Unless you have hundreds of volunteers that think they can honestly clear icy boardwalks with plastic shovels — and are willing to come out to do that job, after every storm - we’d suggest using real wood for your boardwalk, instead.
Whenever someone says that a manufactured product is actually more environmentally friendly than a naturally occurring one, you should really ask some questions. No matter which plastic a particular Composite Decking manufacturer may use, we can assure you: it doesn’t grow on trees.
Products such as polypropylene, polyethylene, and poly vinyl chloride are actually by-products of the oil industry — which we all realize is environmentally friendly at its core, right?! (Please excuse the snark.) In fact, the oil industry was actually mandated by the government to find a use for the harmful, non-biodegradable substances they produced. The Composite Decking industry was among the results. Despite their use of any amount of recycled materials, the entire system is reliant on the oil industry. And it’s far from renewable.
By contrast, real lumber is clearly renewable. And despite common misconceptions, current replanting rates mean that between 10 to 20 trees are typically planted for every single one that’s harvested. While the lumber industry still does account for a small portion of deforestation, it’s an extremely miniscule amount: think 2-3 trees out of every 100 trees felled. Instead, logging bans contribute to much of the deforestation, because land owners need to make money with their land, somehow. If they can’t do it through the lumber industry, they’re forced to repurpose their land for cattle ranching or other uses. Sustainability and economics go hand in hand; many environmentalist initiatives are lacking in one or both.
Continue reading with Part 4.