Wood plastic composite lumber Raw Material
In 2008, 30+ million tons of plastic materials were contained within the nation’s municipal solid waste (MSW). Of this, 7.1 percent was recovered for recycling. Of the approximately 6 million tons of HDPE in the form of white translucent bottles in MSW, 29.3 percent was recovered for reuse (USEPA 2010), with some of this going into production of Wood plastic composite lumber.
Raw material availability is not likely to inhibit production of plastic composite products within the near term given the vast quantities of waste plastic available, the considerable potential of increased recovery for recycling, and the possibility of using types of plastics other than HDPE in plastic composite products. Over the longer term, a rise in energy prices that would make burning of plastics (as well as the wood used in WPC) for power a more competitive economic proposition could change the raw material picture.
Lumber Used in Making Treated Wood Products and Wood Used in Wood plastic composite
Supplies of lumber commonly used for production of treated wood products are abundant. Wood in the form of shavings or sawdust that is used along with recycled plastic in making WPC is likewise abundant. In the most recent assessment of U.S. forest land (USDA-Forest Service, RPA Assessment 2010) net growth was estimated to exceed removals by 72%; for softwood species often used in decks and other treated wood products, the ratio of net growth to removals is about 1.55 (i.e., wood volumes added to forests annually exceed volumes removed annually by over 50%, meaning that the inventory of wood contained within the nation’s forests is increasing steadily).