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The value and safety of recycled plastics and HDPE lumber

By Dan Darvell May 19, 2022 blog

Since the 1950s, the world has produced more than 9 billion tons of plastic. Almost all of that plastic still exists in some form or another, primarily in landfills and waterways, but when HDPE lumber was developed in the 1980s, recycling finally began to take off. The development of HDPE products, and other goods made from recycled plastics, demonstrated the tremendous environmental, economic and personal value recycling could offer. Today, products made from recycled plastics are in high demand. Let’s look into the benefit of using these materials for outdoor furniture, utility items and garden accessories. 

Outdoor furniture on a deck

Make less waste

It seems obvious that recycling is a way of reducing waste. In fact, recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 16.3 barrels of oil and 30 cubic yards of landfill space. However, because most plastics cannot be recycled more than 3 times, it’s extremely beneficial to use them in lasting products. Because of its strength, weather-resistance and durability against pests, farmers have used HDPE lumber for agricultural fence posts for decades. They are able to maintain their fences without losing pieces to rot or cracking, requiring replacements. HDPE lumber provides these same benefits in outdoor furniture. Weatherproof outdoor furniture, utility pieces and planters made from recycled plastics maintain their shape and appearance for decades without the need for replacement or maintenance. They’re easily cleaned and don’t require painting or staining. The same isn’t true for wooden pieces, metal or virgin plastic single-season chairs. Not only is recycled plastic outdoor furniture less wasteful to produce, it’s less likely to end up in a landfill itself. 

Two people sitting and chatting on adironack chairs

Improve safety

Enjoying a warm day with the family can be derailed by snagging a summer dress on an exposed nail or a nasty splinter in a grandkid’s thumb. Because HDPE lumber won’t crack or splinter, and its production enables hardware to be hidden and less destructive, these won’t be worries when relaxing on a plastic Adirondack chair. HDPE lumber also makes safe, effective planters and raised garden beds. HDPE lumber won’t produce harmful molds in your raised bed or planter, nor will it leach any chemicals into what you’re growing – a common concern for folks growing food plants. Using HDPE lumber for our waste receptacles, tables, garden accessories and more also reduces our reliance on wood. Each year we cut down about 15 billion trees to make products that will need to be replaced. Keeping more trees in the ground improves the safety of everyone on the planet by keeping our temperatures cooler and our air cleaner. 

Accessories for the outdoor

Conserve more energy

Did you know that recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours? Recycling one ton of plastic saves 98 million BTUs of energy. While these facts are undoubtedly positive, they are not the only way in which choosing recycled plastic outdoor furniture saves energy: choosing recycled plastic outdoor furniture saves your energy as well. Because HDPE lumber is such a stable material, is nonporous and is able to withstand extreme temperatures and humidity, it requires significantly less of your energy to maintain. Weatherproof outdoor furniture is easily cleaned with soap and water and doesn’t require seasonal storage. A simple tarp in the winter to keep squirrels from nibbling on your recycled plastic Adirondack or dining table may be all the energy you need to exert when closing down the patio for the winter months. You won’t need to haul rotted or cracked furniture to the alley for waste removal, and you won’t need to spend hours restaining or repainting discolored pieces to improve their appearance. 

By the Yard Outdoor dining table on display

Shop elegant recycled plastic furniture at By the Yard

When we first started building outdoor furniture from HDPE lumber made from recycled plastics, we were delighted by the beauty and craftsmanship of our pieces. Maintaining the beauty of traditional wood patio furniture and decor while reducing plastic waste and saving trees is something we’re deeply proud of. The inherent longevity of HDPE recycled plastic lumber enables us to offer a 35-year warranty on our weatherproof outdoor furniture and accessories, from Adirondack chairs to planters to waste receptacles and beyond. Buying HDPE patio furniture gives you timeless pieces that you can pass on to your kids and grandkids, while also passing down a cleaner planet.  Together we can make life truly better outdoors. Request a free By the Yard catalog or shop online today at To ask any question or order by phone, give us a call at 877-220-0448.