For Trex, the world's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing products, being "green" is good business. From 2007 through 2012 alone, the company salvaged and kept more than 2.5 billion pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills.
As Trex is nearly two decades old, this number represents only a percentage of the total materials reclaimed by the company over the years and then transformed into eco-friendly outdoor living products – including high-performance composite decking manufactured of more than 95 percent recycled content.
Trex reclaims and reuses both sawdust and polyethylene plastic from many common household items – such as case overwraps, sandwich/bread bags, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning bags and grocery/retail bags – to create products that offer an environmentally responsible choice to consumers. In addition, the company's manufacturing process is as green as its final product, with a proprietary method that recycles factory refuse back into the manufacturing line. Trex also is the first company in the wood-alternative decking industry to receive an International Code Council Evaluation Service® (ICC-ES)* SAVE Verification for Recycled Content.
"Trex was literally built on the use of sustainable materials, and we were eco-friendly before the term became widely popular," said Ronald W. Kaplan , chairman, president and CEO of Trex. "Our commitment to preserving and protecting the environment continues to influence everything we do as a company, and we are proud to be an industry leader both in the manufacturing of 'green' outdoor living products and in addressing today's environmental challenges."
Local Initiatives and Education
While Trex's recycling efforts are national and international in scope, with a variety of in-store collection programs delivering materials to Trex facilities, the company also supports a multitude of recycling solutions on the local level, and continues to expand its support of "green" initiatives in communities across the country year after year.
To meet increased demand, Trex is growing its "mini-baler" pilot program in Southern Calif. to include additional small businesses that otherwise might not have the opportunity to partner with Trex as plastics suppliers. The company is also introducing new compressed air balers to accommodate even greater quantities of materials.
Since 2008, this program – the first of its kind – has drawn such diverse participants as dry cleaners, independent grocery stores, hospitals, a horse stable, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres) and the City of Solana Beach. Plastics are collected and taken to mini-balers in waste yards or other locations, where they are compressed into 50-pound bales and then transported to Trex manufacturing facilities. Trex plans to grow the program throughout Southern Calif., with the eventual goal of making mini-balers available to municipalities in every state.
In addition, the company's Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge motivates participating grade schools to collect plastic bags and other types of plastic packaging in return for products made of Trex wood-alternative materials. In total, 357 schools throughout the East and the Midwest are taking part in the 2012-13 Challenge – which is an increase of 120 schools since the previous year. All participating schools will receive a birdhouse created from Trex decking boards, while 66 benches made from the same materials will be awarded to schools that collect the most plastic.
"Our dedication to salvaging and reusing materials truly begins with individual communities, whether we're teaching children about the importance of recycling or helping residents to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives," said Dave Heglas , director of material resources for Trex. "We focus our efforts on promoting awareness of environmental issues, while encouraging individuals to practice eco-consciousness in their own backyards."
Recent Awards and Recognitions
In February, Trex took top honors in the decking products category of Green Builder Media's 2013 Reader's Choice Awards, when more than 40 percent of readers who voted selected Trex decking as the "greenest" in the industry. The following month, Kaplan received the Green Company Executive Award from Pennsylvania-based Emerald Asset Management for his commitment to sustainable practices.
For more information about Trex's eco-friendly products, processes and programs.