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NyloDeck

NyloDeck is made from nylon derived from recycled carpet and a VOC-free, water-borne polyurethane binder… Read more
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  • Using materials recovered from the waste stream typically results in less waste, pollution, and energy use than using virgin materials. From an environmental standpoint, post-consumer is typically considered preferable to pre-consumer recycled content because post-consumer recycled materials are more likely to have been diverted from landfills.

    In some cases, we consider products with recycled content green but with some caveats regarding where they should be used. For example, rubber flooring made from recycled automobile tires should not be used in most fully enclosed indoor spaces due to the likelihood of VOC emissions.

    Recycling can have downsides. For example, some studies show that curbside collection programs and some recycling processes use more energy than they save. Closed-loop recycling is generally preferable to “down-cycling,” in which a lower-grade material is produced—but due to contamination of waste streams and the difficulty of extracting high-value ingredients, down-cycling may be as good as it gets. At times recycling can re-introduce hazardous components. Some products, like copper and aluminum, include a high level of recycled content as a matter of course—which we applaud, but don’t consider justification for listing in GreenSpec. As more complete life-cycle information on recycled materials and processes becomes available, we use that to increase our scrutiny of recycled products.

  • Pre-consumer (also called “post-industrial”) recycling refers to the reuse of industrial by-products, as distinguished from material that has been in consumer use. The iron-ore slag used to make mineral wool insulation and the fly ash used to make concrete are examples of post-industrial recycled materials. While post-consumer recycled content is preferable, a product that uses pre-consumer content or recycles a seldom-used waste product, especially in an area where recycled products are hard to find, can be considered green.

    Excluded from this category, by FTC definitions, is the use of scrap within the same manufacturing process from which it was generated—material that would typically have gone back into the manufacturing process anyway.

  • Some materials provide a better alternative in an application dominated by products for which there are concerns about toxic constituents, intermediaries, or by-products. With the panoply of products made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants, some products are green simply because they provide an alternative. Examples of this are natural wall coverings, drain and vent piping, and roofing membranes. Some green products are free of hazards common to the product category; for example, LED lighting is inherently free of the mercury found in fluorescent lighting sources.

    However, it’s worth noting that without transparency about actual ingredients, there’s no guarantee that a product won’t have less common or less well-known hazards that the manufacturer isn’t talking about. We use Pharos’s Chemical and Material Library to assess less well-known hazards, and we encourage manufacturers to review the hazardous properties of all chemicals they use and seek out safer materials.

  • These products are environmentally attractive because they need to be replaced less frequently or their maintenance has very low impact, both of which can reduce costs as well as environmental impact.
    Robust answers on typical service life of products can be hard to come by, however. In GreenSpec we reserve this criterion for products where the material is clearly more durable than alternatives, such as an exceptionally traffic-resistant polyurethane floor finish. We refer to standardized tests for durability when they are available and appropriate.
    We also consider “appropriate durability”: long life is more important in a building envelope than in interior finish materials that will be replaced for aesthetic reasons. Here, reduced maintenance can be particularly important. An example is resilient flooring that doesn’t require regular waxing: an unnecessary use of resources and a health hazard.

  • Just how low the VOC level needs to be for a given product to qualify for inclusion in GreenSpec depends on the product category. For most products, we require certification to California’s health-based emissions standard, CDPH Std Method v1.1 standard (also referred to as California Section 01350), which tests a product’s resultant VOC concentrations in the space after a given period of time. For wet-applied products like paints, caulks, and adhesives, we still also look for VOC content instead of, or in addition to, verified low emissions; this is because emissions testing doesn’t adequately test initial offgassing, and VOC content is currently the only widely available proxy.

NyloDeck is made from nylon derived from recycled carpet and a VOC-free, water-borne polyurethane binder. The decking contains no harmful heavy metals, as do most pressure-treated wood products. It has a wood-grain surface texture with UV protection; is available in three colors (Caramel, American Gray, Chestnut, and Cocoa); and can also be painted or stained. NyloDeck is 5-1/2" wide and available in lengths from 12' to 24' and two thicknesses: 7/8" (for 16" on-center spans) and 1-1/8" (for 24" on-center spans). This decking is resistant to termites, mold, and fungus and carries a 30-year warranty.


Read more on this product in "BuildingGreen's Product of the Week"

Wood-plastic composite lumber incorporates some of the characteristics of wood with those of plastic lumber.

Recycled plastic resin (usually polyethylene) is combined with wood or another plant fiber—which may be post-industrial recycled content or virgin fiber—to create a product that has various advantages over both solid wood and solid plastic. The percentage of recycled content varies by producer, and we try to include that information where available.

While the plastic should prevent rotting, cracking, and splintering, the wood fiber adds strength and dimensional stability. Wood-plastic composite materials generally have a more natural coloring and appearance than 100%-plastic materials. The wood fibers, however, may absorb water and fade in color over time.

Some wood-plastic composite lumber is graded for structural use, primarily as deck substructure and for marine use. This is not true of all wood-plastic composites, so check with the manufacturer for specific product indications.

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MRc4: Recycled Content

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