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With a zero-waste mindset and a commitment to recycling millions of landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastic containers every year, POLYWOOD has been on a mission to do something meaningful for future generations since day one.
POLYWOOD’s mission of stewardship is at the heart of everything we do. We’ve expanded our recycling process to incorporate local, regional, and globally-sourced post-consumer plastic into our on-site recycling center to stop plastics from ever reaching landfills and oceans. But our commitment to sustainability goes beyond recycling post-consumer plastics. Genuine POLYWOOD lumber is infinitely reusable, and any scrap from our production floor goes right back to our recycling plant to be reground, sent to extrusion, and made back into lumber. Our zero-waste mindset also means that the post-industrial scrap, or materials used in our production - including glass, packaging, paper, aluminum, shrink wrap, fasteners, fabric, resin, and pallets - are recycled, reducing our environmental impact.
Truckloads of recycled plastic are transformed into genuine POLYWOOD lumber which is then used to construct our wide array of all-weather furniture. Learn more about our Genuine Recycling process below and how we transform everyday waste into beautiful outdoor furniture.
A Little History
Since the 1950s, the mass production of disposable plastic has rapidly increased. Unfortunately, plastic is extremely slow to degrade — scientists still don't know exactly how long plastics will exist after they end up in a landfill.
At POLYWOOD we recycle high-density polyethylene, an extremely durable type of plastic you'll find all around your home: milk jugs, detergent containers, shampoo bottles, lotion bottles, cleaner spray bottles, etc. The best part of high-density polyethylene (HDPE for short) is that it can be infinitely recycled.
Our Recycling Process
First, landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastics arrive at our recycling plant bundled in large bales, as well as any scrap lumber from our production process ready to be reused.
The flattened plastic is sent up a conveyor to a giant shredder to be pre-shredded.
Next, the shredded flakes are pre-washed and any heavy materials that might have gotten mixed in (glass, rocks, etc.) are removed.
Next, our color sorter will remove any colored plastics we don't want mixing into the final product. Once sorted, the resulting good material travels up another conveyor to be pelletized.
The final product, shown below, is loads of clear pellets that are ready to be made into genuine POLYWOOD® lumber.
Making Genuine POLYWOOD® Lumber
The recycled pellets are transported next door to the Extrusion Department by an efficiently designed series of tubes from one building to the next. All pellets are stored in silos outside the building and then sucked in through more tubes that run right to our extrusion lines.
Tubing that runs from the Recycling Building over to the silos outside of the Extrusion Department.
Our silos that store recycled plastic pellets waiting to become POLYWOOD lumber.
We take our recycled pellets, add colorant, along with other additives (to ensure beautiful, long-lasting color), and then extrude the mixture to the size and shape of the lumber we need (similar to when you “extruded” play-doh as a kid).
Constructing POLYWOOD Furniture
On the last leg of its journey, our recycled lumber makes its way to our production cells where builders construct POLYWOOD furniture.
After our furniture is constructed, 99% of all scrap from manufacturing goes right back to our recycling plant to be reground, sent to extrusion, and made back into lumber. We’ve also introduced custom cardboard box machines that make all our cardboard shipping boxes to the exact size needed to reduce cardboard waste.
Learn more about our Ocean Chair campaign, a symbol of our commitment to creating sustainable outdoor furniture that keeps our oceans clean and protects the marine lives within them.