Eco-Friendly Decking Materials

What makes decking eco-friendly? Is it just the fact that wood decking comes from a renewable resource? What about the fact that composite decking comes from recycled plastic, does that mean that it's 100% eco-friendly?

It's hard to separate the hype from reality. When it comes to composite decking materials, saying that it's 100% eco-friendly just because it comes from recycled plastic is like saying a SUV that saves 1 gallon per mile than other SUVs is energy efficient. Sure it's progress, but there's still a lot more under the hood that is cause for concern. Like what? Well how about the fact that composite decking is made with glues which contain known toxins like benzene and dioxin, and also include adhesives which use formaldehyde? Also consider the fact that after many displeased homeowners replaced their composite decks, the wasted boards can't be recycled. That's right. Composite decking produces a material that can't be separated by modern recycling methods. What happens to those disposed of plastic deck boards? They get tossed in a landfill and rot there, leeching chemicals into the ground and air. How eco-friendly is that?

What about wood decking? Wood materials face an uphill climb. Many people erroneously feel that wood products are the main cause of deforestation and the decimation of the rain forest. Would it surprise you to know that the leather shoes, belt, and even the burger you ate at that fast food joint is more responsible for deforestation than a wood deck? Yes, cattle ranching and agriculture are the leading causes of deforestation in the Amazon.

Also consider this, due to local government regulations, the United States LACEY Act and organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, exotic wood decking is heavily regulated. In Brazil, there is a concerted effort to monitor the growth not just of a patch of forest, but the tree itself. Even the direction a tree is felled is monitored and controlled. These efforts have actually made a huge difference and you can find eco-friendly wood decking that is more dependable than composite materials.

All in all, the decision lies with you. Do you want to settle for marketing tricks, or do you want to promote genuine materials that are both renewable, biodegradable and truly eco-friendly.