In recent years, more attention has turned to regulating our Carbon Footprint.
This figurative footprint refers to degree by which humans have increased the presence of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.
One potential cause of increased CO2 is deforestation, which is worth discussing when weighing the environmental pros and cons of purchasing wooden or poly lumber outdoor furniture.
Wooden Lumber for Outdoor Furniture and the Environment
Acacia, Cedar, Pine, and Eucalyptus: These types of wood are commonly used in outdoor furniture. Each species is plentiful, and sustainable harvesting helps prevent excessive deforestation. Many of these wood types have been used throughout history: Acacia was reported used to construct the Ark of the Covenant, according to the Book of Exodus (source).
Poly Lumber consists of HDPE (high-density polyethylene). This is recycled plastic that may have lived several previous lives, perhaps as a milk jug, or bottle cap.
But make no mistake: HDPE processed for use as poly lumber is only a distant cousin to flimsy plastic containers. In fact, HDPE has found use in skyscrapers, hard hats, piping systems, and other circumstances requiring strength and durability.
Through a process known as extrusion, the HDPE is molded densely into lumber-like boards. The extrusion process is designed to simulate the density and texture of wood — though it does tend to be slightly heavier than most wooden boards of comparable size. The plastic is heated, then shaped into the desired form, and then liquid cooled for uniform rigidity.
The result of extrusion is a fine, nearly ageless poly lumber, which is then shaped and crafted to form outdoor furniture immune to rot and checking.
Though commonly used wood species aren’t in danger of extinction, poly lumber saves plastic from the landfill, making it the more sustainable outdoor furniture material for the future.
Conveniently, its advantages in the realm of maintenance (click here for that comparison) make poly lumber a tempting choice for Adirondack chairs and other outdoor furniture.
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