Use of More Recycled Plastics In Structural Membranes

What are your thoughts on using more recycled plastics in construction as structural and non-structural membranes? The material can be made from recycled plastics and cuts, excess, etc. can be dumped at landfills at special recycling locations to be brought back into production again. It can also be made light weight, perhaps more light weight than lumber which saves cost on fuel and production.

Imagine, all excess used plastics from all industries can be used in building materials instead of ending up in our oceans. The lifecycle of new buildings is in excess of 50 years (at least in our area). The material can remain in the homes until demolition. Once the building is demolished then the materials can once again be recycled and be brought back into production.

The question is how much CO2 is produced during the recycling process.

The trick is getting the landfills to strictly enforce recycling. Today, Trex decking and other materials we simply dumped with other regular materials. Incentives will have to be put in place for contractors / homeowners encouraging them to recycle (e.g., recycling credit, etc.).

What are your thoughts?

Trex decking and existing plastic materials are not forced to be dumped at recycling locations at the dumps.

I think the question of CO2 in the process of recycling is an interesting one. For me there’s an additional question of scarcity of petroleum that makes our continued use of virgin plastic problematic. If we’re going to continue to use plastic products in buildings, I think the material scientists and product manufacturers need to design for end-of-life recycling in the cradle-to-cradle sense. Not just a takeback program, but actual recycling of old product into new product. Litter was conceived of as a problem for the consumer, not the manufacturers, and I think that in the building industry and outside it we need to revise the script.