For a product to achieve its Green credentials in the construction industry, it sometimes has to tick a few unexpected boxes. Here we take a look at ecodek, a wood polymer made from 95% recycled material which is winning friends for its real-world waste reduction benefits as well as its environmental properties.
The term “Eco” is often tagged on to all sorts of products, services and expressions as an indication of their environmentally responsible credentials.
In the tough, real-world environment of the UK construction industry however, eco-friendliness tends to encompass much more down-to-earth concepts. These include minimal use of virgin commodities, maximum use of recycled materials, low embodied energy and near evangelistic measures to help reduce on-site waste and the cost of its disposal.
With these broad definitions in mind, Landscape & Urban Design magazine takes a look at a British made product that ticks a lot of these boxes in its quest to provide a product that can make justifiable claims for its eco credentials.
ecodek®, part of the Epwin Group of companies, manufactures an innovative board system made entirely from ethically sourced hardwood waste and recycled high density polyethylene.
According to ecodek’s Technical Manager Alex Collins, “ecodek® is a Wood Polymer Composite [WPC] made up of 55% PEFC hardwood waste – mainly sawdust and wood shavings – and 40% recycled high density polyethylene – the material plastic milk bottles are made from.”
The hardwood waste is certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and ecodek say Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification can be provided depending on the accreditation of the supply route.
Alex continued “We supply most customers with boards cut to specified lengths so it’s a genuine zero-waste material. We even provide a buy-back facility for product off-cuts so that customers can send any waste material back to us for recycling”.
Minimising waste is another green credential box ticked by ecodek®. Management and disposal of waste materials are high costs items that can eat into the profitability and with its off-cut buy back facility, ecodek® does its bit to keep the skip count down.
ecodek® is suitable for a host of applications where timber would otherwise be used. ecodek’s durability, strength, low potential for slip and low maintenance make it the preferred choice for footbridges, patios and walkways as well as balconies and terraces.
ecodek® has a solid cross section and high tensile strength which gives it a greater support span than many competitor products and also eradicates the performance issues like deformation and cracking associated with lower quality composite products.
Similarly, ecodek’s permanent, leach proof colour and low slip potential adds to its strengths.
The “eco tag” is widely used on a whole raft of products, many of which sometimes struggle to live up to the associated green reputation. However, on the strength of the evidence above, ecodek® is one of the few that can comfortably live with the claims. It’s British made from wood waste and recycled polyethylene. The cradle to gate production process is carbon negative. It’s supplied cut to length to save time, costs and on site waste and even offers a buy back facility for any surplus material or off-cuts.
By any criteria, ecodek® can hold its ground in the tough, eco-focused world.