Sustainability in Construction: The Environmental Benefits of Composite Decking

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In recent years, there’s been a palpable shift in societal values, with a growing emphasis on eco-consciousness and sustainable living. This change is not just a fleeting trend but a deep-rooted movement driven by mounting concerns over climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation.

The scientific community, along with policymakers, has played a pivotal role in this transformation. By consistently highlighting the environmental repercussions of our choices and advocating for greener alternatives, they’ve significantly influenced consumer behaviour. One such area of change is in the choice of decking materials for construction. Gone are the days when traditional wood was the only option. Today, composite decking is emerging as a frontrunner, championed for its eco-friendly properties.

Composite Decking: An Overview

So, what exactly is composite decking? At its core, composite decking is a hybrid material, crafted by blending natural wood fibres with plastic. This fusion results in a robust, durable decking material that mimics the aesthetic appeal of wood without its associated drawbacks.

One of the standout features of composite decking is its composition. By utilising recycled wood and plastic, its manufacturing process actively contributes to waste reduction. Every plank of composite decking laid is a testament to repurposed waste that might have otherwise ended up in landfills.

But it’s not just about waste reduction. The very essence of composite decking lies in its environmental friendliness. Unlike traditional wood, it doesn’t contribute to deforestation. Moreover, it doesn’t require the frequent application of chemical-laden paints or sealants, making it a healthier choice for the environment.

In conclusion, as the construction industry evolves, it’s imperative to make choices that are not only cost-effective and durable but also environmentally responsible. Composite decking, with its myriad of benefits, is a step in the right direction, paving the way for a sustainable future.

Comparison of Decking Materials

Decking plays a pivotal role in enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of outdoor spaces. However, with a plethora of materials available, making an informed choice can be daunting. Let’s delve into a comparative analysis of the most popular decking materials: plastic, wood, and composite.

Plastic Decking

Composition and Environmental Impact: Plastic decking, as the name suggests, is primarily made of plastic, often PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene). While it offers resistance to moisture and pests, its environmental footprint is a matter of concern. The production of plastic decking consumes significant energy and releases greenhouse gases.

Non-Recyclable Nature: Most plastic decking materials are non-biodegradable and challenging to recycle. Once discarded, they persist in the environment for centuries, contributing to the global plastic pollution crisis.

Advantage of Minimal Chemical Use Post-Installation: On the brighter side, plastic decking requires minimal maintenance. Unlike wood, it doesn’t necessitate regular treatments with chemical-laden sealants or paints, reducing its environmental impact post-installation.

Wood Decking

Perceived Eco-Friendliness: Wood, being a natural material, is often perceived as an eco-friendly choice. It offers warmth, beauty, and a classic appeal that’s hard to replicate.

Environmental Impact of Deforestation and Transportation: However, the sourcing of hardwoods for decking has significant environmental implications. Deforestation leads to habitat loss, reduced biodiversity, and increased carbon dioxide levels. Additionally, transporting hardwoods, especially exotic varieties, contributes to a substantial carbon footprint.

Use of Sealants and Stains: Wood decking requires regular maintenance to prevent decay and discolouration. This often involves the application of chemical sealants and stains, which can leach into the environment.

Advantage of Eco-Friendly Disposal and Repurposing: Unlike plastic, wood is biodegradable. At the end of its lifecycle, wood decking can be repurposed or naturally decomposed, reducing landfill waste.

Composite Decking

Use of Recycled Materials: Composite decking is a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastic. This unique composition harnesses the strengths of both materials while mitigating their individual weaknesses.

Reduction of Plastic and Wood Waste: By utilising recycled components, composite decking production actively reduces waste, diverting both plastic and wood from landfills.

Absence of Hazardous or Toxic Substances: Composite decking doesn’t require treatments with toxic chemicals for maintenance, making it safer for both the environment and homeowners.

Durability and Long-Term Value: Composite decking boasts a long lifespan, resisting moisture, pests, and UV damage. Its durability ensures value for money, reducing the frequency of replacements.


While each decking material has its merits, composite decking stands out for its environmental benefits. It combines the aesthetics of wood with the resilience of plastic, all while championing sustainability. As the construction industry gravitates towards eco-friendly practices, composite decking is poised to be the material of choice, heralding a new era in sustainable outdoor living.



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