On Lumbers Of Plastics


With the resurgence of the recycling trend, people are looking for ways to recycle plastics. Unlike papers, these polymeric materials take a long time to disintegrate. As a result, they end up as trash and added burden to our overflowing landfills. They are even more sinister when they disintegrate. Materials like plastic bags degrade and melt into their chemical components which mix with the methane in the garbage. The toxic compound formed seep through the ground and water table to combine with the ground water. As you probably know, most of our water needs are obtained from the ground water. Mixed with the plastic-methane compound, the ground water is polluted and made unsafe.

To prevent or, at least, minimize this risk, the government is encouraging the utilization of plastics in crafts and other recycling method. You’ve probably seen plastic figurines, recycled containers, and other recycled plastic stuff. But there’s a use for recycled plastic materials which few people are aware of: as plastic lumbers. The polymeric materials have been harnessed as replacement for lumber since 1994. One of the first projects that used plastic lumbers include the replacement of the wooden ties used in railroads. Since then, most ties in railroad stations and subways have been replaced with plastic ties. However, the idea is not exclusive to America. In Asia, Japan has been using ties made with composite materials for years. These materials include virgin foamed polyurethane and glass reinforcement. These make their trains run faster but quieter.

Are plastic lumbers better the natural wood? In some ways, plastic lumbers are found to be better than natural wood in key aspects. Using these plastic replacements bear little to no disadvantage compared to natural wood. As a natural material, wood is strong and supple. Unfortunately, to maintain its quality, wooden materials need regular upkeep and replacements. The wood ties used in railroads must be replaced after seven years. Meanwhile, these plastics are estimated to last for 20 years even without regular maintenance.

The advantage of plastic lumbers does not end here. Plastic lumbers are cheaper and more cost-effective than natural wood. These plastics are not prone to rot, splintering, and cracking. The polymeric materials used in plastic lumbers are denser, more graffiti-proof, stain resistant, and insect repellent than wood. In addition, plastic lumbers are also environment-friendly. Unlike using wood, no new trees are cut down just to make plastic lumbers. These new type of lumbers are made of used plastic containers, like those used for shampoos and milk jugs. In retrospect, plastic lumbers also reduce plastic wastes. From this perspective, plastic lumbers are efficient and cost-effective use of plastics.

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

Expert tips before traveling Japan, including reviews of Japanese food and restaurants to help you make your trip as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

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