Plastic Lumber Sales to Escalate with Growing Preference for Green Building Materials
The world currently produces more than 350 million tonnes of plastics, annually. Plastic disposal has been one of the most concerning global issues that aggravate the need for accelerating our journey toward the sustainability goal. While plastics have been perceived as a highly unsustainable material, some of their attributes continue to make them an ideal candidate of the most desirable circular economy. Surging demand for durability, strength, flexibility, waterproof nature, high mouldability, and lighter weight over the recent past is significantly pushing consumption of plastics across various industrial verticals. More importantly, 100% reusability, and infinite recyclability of polymers, especially plastics, are capturing notable attention.
Building and construction industry remains one of the key consumer sectors of plastic materials. A host of building materials like plastic lumber, with the rise of green building tide, have been witnessing a constant surge in demand. An increasing number of engineers, and architects are investing effort in discovering newer applications of plastic lumber products, which will be a strong push for plastic lumber market growth. High price point will however remain the major impediment to widespread adoption, especially in cost-sensitive markets. A few other significant challenges facing manufacturers include the viscoelasticity, and temperature sensitivity.
Desirable Functional Attributes to Uplift Adoption Potential of Plastic Lumber
Plastic lumber not only provides building industry with an eco-friendly potential replacer for forest hardwoods but also gives a non-toxic substitute for pressure-treated woods. While this renders plastic lumber a higher sustainability quotient, its structural stability, endurance, superior resilience, and weather resistance further raise its potential as an ideal building material of the future. Non-wooden structures would also tend to keep mildew, rot, and termites at bay.
One of the recently discovered applications of plastic lumber is its use as a backing material for flooring, specifically for luxury vinyl tiling (LVT). As flooring market has regained its momentum post-a heavy setback amid pandemic, the market for plastic lumber is also likely to gain to a certain extent. Considering these advantages that otherwise demand a lot of effort, and investment, plastic lumber products have been rapidly winning industry participants.
Demand for plastic lumber is also anticipated to weight heavy over the currently trending material – wood polymer composite (WPC). These projections are clearly attributable to the former’s easy installation feature, superior endurance, moisture resistance, and ability to impart a structure the aesthetics of natural wood (post-technological processing).
Residential Building and Construction Projects Continue to Generate Notable Demand
News construction activities have been recently stimulating demand for plastic lumber that has a crucial role to play in trending decking applications. With the residential sector flourishing at an exponential pace, penetration possibilities for plastic lumber will continue to increase in future. Popularity of plastic lumber is likely to climb up across developing, and emerging markets as they consistently witness the visibly high growth of housing sector – particularly new construction and building projects to cater to swelling population. On the other hand, developed regions are also driving demand for plastic lumber among other building materials for growing prominence of residential renovation projects rather than new constructions. Moreover, decking is a more popular trend in developed western economies, which sustains plastic lumber sales.
Metamorphosis of Decks to Largely Favour Expansion of Plastic Lumber Market
Notable demand generation is observed in segments like decking and fencing, piers, and furniture. Demand from decking however continues to record a significant share in the valuation of global plastic lumber market. As flexural modulus is not too critical in case of decking, plastic lumber products continue to be in demand. Deck installations that were a mere entertainment area till a few years ago are today an evolved area of the exteriors of houses, rather a complete extension to houses. Decking today even involves firepits, outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, multiple seating areas and formats, and privacy lattices. With decks expanding in size, and getting a makeover with innovative features, the demand for plastic lumber products will most likely see an upswing.
Plastic Lumber Products to Penetrate Newer Niches as Awareness Improves
Plastic lumber products have come a long way from earlier being a mere novelty material in construction projects to now an appreciated building material. The understanding, and awareness about the material was previously only restricted to environmental experts and the industry was considerably ignorant about it. However, the performance understanding that has developed among industry participants, as well as consumers over the years is now fuelling the development of plastic lumber market. While there are estimations about plastic lumber becoming a crucial part of interior materials, and landscaping applications, research around plastic lumber materials also showcases possibilities of penetration in segments other than building and construction.
Considering the functional attributes, and performance of plastic lumber, it certainly holds the promise to enable manufacturers to surpass conventional application areas. A recently conducted study (collectively funded by Plastics Industry Council, and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association’s Environment) has even explored the possibility of plastic lumber application in railroad ties. The research has been an all-inclusive analysis covering all the associated aspects of targeted plastic railway ties, i.e., performance testing, development, production, and pricing.
With this and more such explorations, it would not be surprising if the North American rail industry starts generating demand for plastic lumbers as one of the key materials on a routine basis. The US rail industry particularly continues to witness prominence of creosote-treated (wooden) ties that accompany a lot of unsustainable disposal concern. Plastic rail ties developed using plastic lumber products would probably be a viable solution at least for short-line roads, and within-the-region rail roads.
Competition Analysis – Plastic Lumber Market
Some of the most prominent and competitive plastic lumber market players include American Recycled Plastic Inc., Aeolian Enterprises Inc., Century-Board USA, LLC, Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc., Bedford Technology LLC, Genova Products Inc., Engineered Plastic Systems LLC, KWK Plastic Lumber Co., Ltd., Trex Company, Inc., and Tangent Technologies, LLC.
Among these, Bedford Technology LLC had recently introduced SmarterFence™ (2018), a novel fencing system that has been made from the company’s structural recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The product came in one of the first lot of environmentally friendly, more durable, and more lasting fencing solution. Besides new launches, leading players are expected to remain focused on R&D around more sustainable material alternatives. Strategic acquisitions will also continue to be a preferred move.
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global Plastic Lumber Market
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