Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing, has been named a 2019 Eco-Leader – the highest honor awarded by Green Builder Media, North America’s leading media group focused on green building and responsible growth. Trex was selected by the Green Builder editorial team in recognition of its ongoing companywide commitment to sustainability.
“Our Eco-Leaders program recognizes corporations that are confronting environmental challenges by creating innovative solutions for product development, manufacturing, supply chain management, community engagement, and reducing their environmental footprint,” said Craig Coale, publisher of Green Builder Media. “Trex is a leader in all of these areas – and more. In addition to producing a product that offers a viable solution for our country’s growing supply of plastic content, Trex also uses sustainable manufacturing processes and proactively engages other companies, consumers and future generations in recycling.”
Trex invented composite decking more than 25 years ago as a way to reduce waste generated from plastic bags. The company uses a proprietary mix of recycled polyethylene plastic film and reclaimed wood scrap, which accounts for 95% of the material in its world-famous decking.
One of the largest recyclers of plastic film packaging in North America, Trex diverts more than 400 million pounds of plastic film, bags and wrap from landfills each year. Additionally, a minimum of 50% of the aluminum used in Trex residential railing products is from recycled sources and approximately 70% of the aluminum and stainless steel used in Trex commercial railing products are recycled.
“Being named an Eco-Leader is testament to our ongoing commitment to the environment,” noted Jim Cline, president and CEO of Trex. “From the very beginning, we have been committed to making our products and processes as eco-friendly as possible.”
Sustainable Manufacturing Processes
Trex employs a manufacturing process that is as green as its final products. It also works with suppliers to reduce environmental impact across the supply chain, using post-consumer and post-industrial content in raw materials and purchased finished goods where possible. Furthermore, utilizing bi-coastal factories reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of our founders lives on in our dedicated employees who continually look for opportunities to reuse or recycle items to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Cline. “For example, we use vegetable oil instead of petroleum-based fluids in some of our hydraulic systems and we use closed loop systems to lower our water consumption.”
Education and Outreach
Historically at the forefront of the green building industry, Trex is a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council, which is dedicated to improving the way America’s buildings and communities are designed, constructed and operated. The company also sponsors and participates in a variety of national recycling programs working with such organizations as the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group, the Society of the Plastics Industry, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
Through the company’s own NexTrex Recycling Program, Trex works with approximately 32,000 stores nationwide to responsibly dispose of plastic shopping bags and polyethylene film used to wrap products and pallets and repurpose that material as Trex composite decking. Recently the program reached a monumental milestone of one billion pounds of recycled material collected through participating retailers.
In addition to these initiatives, Trex also supports a multitude of recycling solutions at the local level, and continues to expand its support of green initiatives in communities across the country. Over the past 12 years, the company’s annual Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge has educated and involved thousands of students across the country in recycling. Students from more than 500 schools participated in the most recent challenge and, together, kept more than 500 thousand pounds of plastic waste from ending up in landfills.
Transparency and Trust
In early 2019, Trex reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, social responsibility and transparency when it released its inaugural Sustainability Report. The report provided the public with a comprehensive review of Trex’s economic, environmental and social performance data from the prior year, as well as over the company’s history.
“As consumers and investors increasingly show preference for eco-friendly building materials, manufacturers have responded with ‘green’ claims that are often difficult to discern or verify,” noted Cline. “The Trex Sustainability Report reaffirms our commitment to offering the highest quality decking and railings available on the market with the assurance that our products are environmentally sound.”
Trex and the other 2019 Eco-Leaders are highlighted in the July/August issue of Green Builder Magazine. This honor follows on the heels of Trex being named – for the ninth year in a row – the “greenest” decking in Green Builder Media’s 2019 Readers' Choice Awards (in which Trex received nearly three times as many votes as the next closest competitor).