Did you know that nearly half of all US consumers say that they’re willing to change their habits in order to live more sustainably and help the planet?
If you’re part of that percentage and looking for ways to live a greener lifestyle, you’ve probably already started using more sustainable products on a regular basis. For example, maybe you’ve started using reusable bags at the grocery store or a metal water bottle to cut down on your plastic consumption.
Those changes are a great first step, but take a moment to think about your home. While you might not have had control over the materials used when it was built, you can try to incorporate more sustainable building materials as you make updates to your home.
For example, if you’re planning to build a new deck or replace an existing one, you can choose a more environmentally friendly alternative to wood in the form of a composite material like Trex decking.
But, just how eco-friendly is Trex? You’ve come to the right place for information. Keep reading to learn more about what makes Trex a sustainable building material, how it compares to other decking options, and more.
What Is Trex Decking?
Trex makes a decking material made out of a wood fiber-polymer composite blend. Since it’s not made from real wood, you never have to worry about it splintering or rotting over time. Thanks to its unique material, it’s also very resistant to pests and other outdoor elements.
Using Trex products also gives you more flexibility in your deck design, because it uses hidden fasteners between the deck boards, making it easier to incorporate a curved or wraparound design.
What Makes Trex a Sustainable Product?
So, now you know what Trex decking actually is, but why is it considered an environmentally friendly building material?
Use of Recycled Plastics
The biggest way that Trex practices sustainability is that it makes its products out of 95% recycled materials. Its deck boards are made from recycled wood pulp and plastic film, totaling more than 850 million pounds of recycled materials and scrap in an average year.
Thanks to the company’s emphasis on sustainability, all of that material that would otherwise end up in a landfill is instead being used to create outdoor living spaces for families all across the country.
To put it even more into perspective, on average, Trex uses more than 1.5 billion recycled plastic bags in its decking material, making it one of the country’s biggest recyclers of plastic film.
Use of Reclaimed Wood
Aside from using plastic recyclables in its products, Trex is also committed to sourcing sustainable wood for its products. So, instead of cutting down trees to make its decking materials, the company uses reclaimed wood products instead.
Again, this saves material from going into a landfill and instead repurposes it into a durable, low-maintenance building material that will last for years.
Environmentally Friendly Manufacturing Process
Trex maintains its commitment to sustainability beyond just the materials it uses. The company also operates using a green manufacturing process, forgoing the use of smokestacks to help reduce carbon emissions into the environment.
It also strives to produce as little waste as possible, putting runoff right back into the manufacturing line to continue making new products. Thanks to the company’s water recirculation system, it recycles 99% of the water it uses during the manufacturing process. Trex also doesn’t believe in using harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process, which benefits the planet as well as humans and animals.
Additionally, Trex believes in operating a sustainable supply chain, working with US-based suppliers, and conducting in-house reviews and tours to help suppliers adopt environmentally friendly processes as well.
From start to finish, Trex operates with a sustainability-first mindset.
A History of Sustainability
While Trex continues to innovate and look for new ways to operate as a green organization, this isn’t a new initiative. In fact, the co-founder of the company, Roger Wittenberg, has a history of looking for ways to reuse recyclable materials.
Before starting Trex, he made knitting machinery out of recycled scrap metal. Then, he began a venture to recycle baked goods into feed for chicken farms. However, he quickly realized that dealing with baked goods meant dealing with plastic bags.
He saw this not as a problem, but as an opportunity to figure out a way to put the plastic bags to good use. Wittenberg realized that by shredding the plastic bags, he could create a material that looked like wood, but that was more durable.
From there, the idea for Trex was born, and homeowners quickly fell in the love with the quality of the material as well as the sustainable mission of the company. The rest, as they say, is history.
Involvement in the Community
Trex not only talks the talk when it comes to sustainability, but it also walks the walk. The company is a member of the US Green Building Council, helping to put new policies in place that encourage other companies to commit to green practices as well.
The company is also a proud member of the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). Through this membership, Trex is able to participate in regional conferences and publish articles about adopting more sustainable business practices and how to increase plastic film repurposing.
In April 2021, the company’s eco-friendly values were recognized once again by Green Builder Media. For the 11th year in a row, Trex was named as the greenest decking product in the industry by readers of Green Builder Magazine.
Additionally, Trex earned the highest score for decking in Green Builder Media’s Brand Index. In 2021, the company also made Green Builder Media’s list of Hot 50 Products, thanks to its unique, sustainable design and manufacturing process.
How Does Trex Compare to Other Decking Materials?
Now that you know more about the environmentally friendly aspects of Trex decking, how does it compare to other types of material? We’re glad you asked.
Once the most popular decking material on the market, wood is an economical choice, but it’s not an eco-friendly option.
Of course, to make wood planks, countless trees are cut down every year, putting a strain on the environment. However, the lack of sustainability doesn’t end there.
Wood decks also require more treatment to keep them maintained. This is often done using harsh, potentially toxic chemicals, which harm the environment.
Another popular decking material is aluminum since it’s durable and very lightweight. It’s also a recyclable material, which makes it a greener choice than wood decking.
However, aluminum tends to be a much more expensive material, which is not ideal if you’re on a budget. And, while aluminum itself is a natural resource, the extraction process is intensive and it’s not environmentally friendly.
So, unless you’re able to use a recycled aluminum source for your deck, you’ll be putting more strain on the environment.
Aluminum also does not hold up as well when exposed to water, meaning you might have to replace it more often than you would other materials.
When it comes down to it, no other building material can compare to Trex decking, especially in terms of sustainability.
Other Uses for Trex Materials
If you love the idea of using an eco-friendly material for your deck, why stop there? Trex materials can be used for more than just your deck.
For example, consider using Trex products for outdoor furniture, backyard benches, shelving, or planters.
As a result, you’ll turn your outdoor living space into a beautiful, functional area, without having to worry about the potential damage it causes to the planet. With Trex materials, you can feel good about your choice to update your home.
Additional Benefits of Trex Decking Materials
If everything we’ve outlined about its sustainability isn’t enough to convince you, here are a few more things to love about this decking material.
As we mentioned briefly above, Trex decking is extremely durable. The composite decking boards are made to last for decades and they’re resistant to stains and fading.
They’re also moisture and mold resistant and protected against termite damage, so you won’t have to worry about issues with rotting or warping over the years.
Best of all, it comes with a 25-year limited residential fade and stain warranty.
Little Maintenance Required
When you choose Trex for your deck, you can truly take a “set it and forget it” approach. Since Trex decking is made to last, you won’t have to worry about painting or staining your boards every few years.
And, you won’t have to use any harsh chemicals to keep it clean. All you need to do is wash it down with soap and water occasionally, and your deck will look good as new.
While it’s true that Trex decking materials can be more expensive up front, you’ll ultimately save money in the long run, since you won’t have to pay for expensive maintenance, repairs, or replacements.
The less expensive upkeep makes up for the higher initial cost, and if living sustainably is important to you, then the initial fee is well worth the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that you’re making an environmentally friendly choice.
Trex Decking Options
Once you’ve decided that you want to move forward with Trex materials for your deck, you’ll be pleased to learn that there plenty of options available to fit any design aesthetic.
For example, the Trex Enhance® collection features an authentic wood grain look, so you can have the appearance of wood boards in an eco-friendly and low maintenance package.
Trex materials are also compatible with Trex railing options, so you can secure the area around your deck to keep your friends and family members safe when out enjoying your backyard space.
When you choose Trex, you have the ability to customize your outdoor space based on your needs.
Deck Guru Is Here to Build the Trex Deck of Your Dreams
Are you ready to build a beautiful deck of your own using Trex decking? Our team of experts here at Deck Guru is here to bring your dream outdoor space to reality.
For more than 25 years, we’ve been serving homeowners in Virginia and Maryland just like you, designing and building backyard spaces that are perfect for everything from hosting outdoor dinner parties to sitting back and relaxing with a good book.
Whether you need a deck built from scratch or a replacement, we’re up for the task. Quality and customer satisfaction are our biggest priorities, which is why we only use high-quality materials, like Trex decking.
Will your deck be our next project? We sure hope so!
Contact our team today to tell us more about your decking plans. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and we’d love to tell you more about the work we’ve done in the past so you have a better idea if we’re the right choice for your project.
Together, we can create the deck you’ve always dreamed about!