rely upon one of these combinations for added strength.
These applications include bridge supports and railroad ties.
Composite plastic lumber has advantages in these applications
that may outweigh the disadvantages of these composites,
such as leaching while in service.25
faVor cerTain PlasTics oVer oTHers
J High recycled content, speciﬁcally high post-consumer
J Polypropylene is comparatively benign.
J Polyethylene both high density (HDPE) and low density
(LDPE), are recyclable resins associated with fewer chemical
hazards and impacts.
J Produced from resins from local municipal recycling
programs, cutting transportation costs and supporting the
limiT use of cerTain PlasTics
J Fiberglass-reinforced or polystyrene-blended structural
plastic lumber can be used for structural applications such as
railroad ties and bridge supports, as a less toxic alternative to
chemically treated wood.
J Products with multiple commingled recycled consumer plas-
tics will have more contaminants and inconsistent properties.
They also support token markets for plastics that otherwise are
largely unrecyclable, and many of which are highly toxic. This
perpetuates the use of plastics that should be phased out.
J Wood-plastic composites are a blend of wood ﬁber with plas-
tics. It is believed that blending the polyethylene with another
material is likely to limit long term recycling options.
J It is unknown whether or not a plastic lumber product
containing biodegradable materials can be technically recycled
after 10 or more years of exposure to the elements.26
aVoiD PlasTics maDe wiTH:
J Fiberglass for nonstructural applications (such as decking
boards, benches, and tables)
J Predominantly nonrecycled plastics (alternatives with high
recycled content are readily available)
J Synthetic composites (with the exception of high load-
bearing or demanding structural applications)
j There appears to be no clear environmental advantage
and numerous environmental disadvantages to these
mixtures, because of the chemical hazards and associated
J PVC and polystyrene are associated with more chemical haz-
ards and impacts throughout their lifecycle than other plastics.
J Lack of a viable recycling option after the service life of
consiDer enD-of-life recYclabiliTY
in order to make a signiﬁcant long term impact on reducing resource
use and disposal, it is not only important that plastic lumber include
recycled content, but also that the lumber product itself be recy-
clable at the end of its life.
consiDer HigH Volume PurcHasing
government agencies and other high volume purchasers can specify
environmentally preferable products in their purchasing policies.
J Procurement contracts with plastic lumber vendors can
encourage collection and recycling of plastic lumber prod-
ucts once they have served their intended use.
J The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Operational
Services Division, speciﬁes in its procurement language for
recycled plastic equipment that “it is desirable that bidders
offer recycling options” for such products.27
for furTHer informaTion
f Asphalt Pavement Alliance, “Asphalt: Recycling and Energy Reduction”,
Lanham, MD: Asphalt Pavement Alliance, October 2006.
f Burak, Rob and Smith, David. Meeting Sustainability Goals with
Segmental Concrete Paving. Interlocking Concrete Pavement Magazine.
November 2008, pp. 28-35.
f Cahill, Thomas, Adams, Michele, and Marm, Courtney. Stormwater
Management with Porous Pavements. Government Engineering. March-April
f Calkins, Meg. Materials for Sustainable Sites: A Complete Guide to the
Evaluation, Selection, and Use of Sustainable Construction Materials.
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons,, Inc., 2008.
f Chacon, Mark. Architectural Stone: Fabrication, Installation and
Selection. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 1999
f Ferguson, Bruce. Porous Pavements. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2005.
f Ferguson, Bruce. Porous Pavements: The Overview. Paper for the Ready
Mix Concrete Foundation, March 31, 2006.
f Green Affordable Housing Coalition. Fact Sheet No. 5 Deck Lumber
Alternatives. July 2006
f Harvie, Jamie and Lent, Tom. PVC-Free Pipe Purchasers’ Report.
Washington, DC: The Healthy Building Network, Draft 2002. http://www.
f Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, Permeable Pavements. Website
accessed December 2, 2008.
f Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, Permeable Interlocking
Concrete Pavement: A Comparison Guide to Porous Asphalt and Pervious
Concrete. February 2008. http://www.icpi.org/myproject/PICP%20
f Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, Permeable Interlocking
Concrete Pavements, 3rd Edition. Herndon, VA: Interlocking Concrete
Pavement Institute, 2002.
f International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). IDA Practical Guide 2: Effects of
Artiﬁcial Light at Night on Wildlife. Tucson, Arizona: IDA, Inc., October 2008.
f Krishnaswamy, Prabhat and Lampo, Richard. Recycled-Plastic
Lumber Standards: From Waste Plastics to Markets for Plastic-Lumber
Bridges. Standardization News, 2001. http://www.astm.org/SNEWS/
f National Asphalt Pavement Association. Porous Asphalt Pavements for
HigH Performance LandscaPe guideLines
Part iii: Best Practices in site Process
Stormwater Management: Design Construction and Maintenance Guide,
Lanham, MD: National Asphalt Pavement Association, November 2008.
f National Asphalt Pavement Association, Warm Mix Asphalt Web Site.
f National Asphalt Pavement Association, Warm-Mix Asphalt: Best
Practices, Lanham, MD: National Asphalt Pavement Association,
f National Asphalt Pavement Association Technical Working Group.
“Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) Guide Speciﬁcations for Highway Construction”,
f National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Flowable Fill Website, visited
November 24, 2008.
f National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Guide Speciﬁcation for
Controlled Low Strength Materials (CLSM) http://ﬂowableﬁll.org/CLSM%20
f National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Pervious Concrete Mix Design
and Materials, Website accessed December 2, 2008. http://www.pervious-
f Newcomb, David. “Warm Mix Asphalt: The Future of Flexible Pavements.”
Powerpoint Presentation at the 12th Annual Minnesota Pavement
Conference. St. Paul, MN, February 14, 2008.
f New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC).
Sustainable Urban Site Design Manual New York: NYCDDC, 2008. http://
f New York City Department of Design and Construction and Design Trust
for Public Space. High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines: Best Practices
for the Public Right of Way. New York: New York City Department of Design
and Construction and Design Trust for Public Space, 2005.
f New York City Department of Transportation, Street Design Manual,
February, 2009. www.nyc.gov/streetdesignmanual
f Plastic Lumber Trade Association, P.O. Box 211, Worthington, MN 56187
f Platt, Brenda, Lent, Tom and Walsh, Bill. The Healthy Building Network’s
Guide to Plastic Lumber. Washington, DC: The Healthy Building Network,
f Robbins, Alan. Deﬁning the Value Proposition of Environmental Plastics,
Plastic Lumber in the Marketplace and the Environment. For presentation at
the Society of Plastic Engineers, Global Plastics Environmental Conference,
Detroit, Michigan, February 18 & 19, 2004. http://www.plasticlumber.org/
f Roseen, Robert and Bellestero, Thomas. Porous Asphalt Pavements
for Stormwater Management. Hot Mix Asphalt Technology May/June 2008,
f The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, Porous Asphalt
Pavement for Stormwater Management. 2008.
f The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, UNHSC Design
Speciﬁcations for Porous Asphalt Pavement and Inﬁltration Beds. April 2008.
f The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, Pervious Concrete
Pavement for Stormwater Management. 2008.
f Thornton, Joe. Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride Building
Materials. Washington, DC: Healthy Building Network, 2002.
f Zettler, Rick. “Warm Mix Stands Up to Its Trials.” Better Roads Magazine,
February, 2006. http://obr.gcnpublishing/articles/feb06a.htm
12 Calkins, Meg. Materials for Sustainable Sites: A Complete Guide to the Evaluation, Selection,
and Use of Sustainable Construction Materials. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons,, Inc., 2008,
13 Calkins, pp. 3-9.
14 Thompson, William and Sorvig, Kim. Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green
Building Outdoors. Washington, D.C.: Timber Press, 2000. p. 196.
16 Calkins, p. 199.
17 Calkins, p. 199.
18 Asphalt Pavement Alliance, “Asphalt: Recycling and Energy Reduction”, Lanham, MD:
Asphalt Pavement Alliance, October 2006.
19 Calkins, p. 216
20 Forest Stewardship Council. http://www.fsc.org/
21 Sourcebook for Landscape Analysis of High Conservation Value Forests. http://www.proforest.
22 Calkins, 2008.
23 Calkins, 2008.
24 The Healthy Building Network’s Guide to Plastic Lumber. p. 13. http://www.healthybuilding.
25 The Healthy Building Network’s Guide to Plastic Lumber. p. 16.
26 The Healthy Building Network’s Guide to Plastic Lumber. p. 16.
27 The Healthy Building Network’s Guide to Plastic Lumber. p. 19.
Provide safe and playable athletic ﬁelds to meet the increasing
demand and societal health need for active recreation without
expanding ﬁelds into lawns and other natural areas of parks
valued for passive use and ecological beneﬁt. Use synthetic
turf on ﬁelds only when the anticipated soil compaction, levels
of use, or length of season make grass impractical. Favor
designs that provide excellent playing surface, stormwater
inﬁltration, lowest heat retention, and meet appropriate envi-
J Allows for 25 to 50% more use of sports ﬁelds than natural
turf ﬁelds due to reliable playability, elimination of the need
to close the ﬁelds for wet and soggy ﬁeld conditions, and
required closures for annual reseeding and periodic grass
J Provides trip hazard free and smooth playing surface
with good traction and reliable shock absorption, improving
quality of play and reducing risk of impact related injuries.
J Reduces energy consumption and pollution from
internal combustion powered equipment required for
mowing and aeration.
J Reduces water usage due to elimination of irrigation
J Reduces the use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides
associated with turf maintenance.
J Potential to serve as a stormwater management device
providing onsite detention, ﬁltration, and inﬁltration.
J Potential to incorporate recycled material including inﬁll,
turf ﬁbers, and backing if properly selected and speciﬁed.
J Synthetic turf components consist of a variety of natural and
man-made chemicals. Several scientiﬁc research studies car-
ried out in the United States and Europe have assessed poten-
tial exposures and health risks for people using turf ﬁelds con-
taining crumb rubber. According to the Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) review of these research ﬁnd-
ings, health effects are unlikely from exposure to the levels of
chemicals found in crumb rubber. DOHMH also completed an
air quality survey to measure the air above synthetic turf ﬁelds
containing crumb rubber inﬁll for chemicals. Results show that
air quality at the synthetic turf ﬁelds surveyed is similar to the
air quality at natural grass ﬁelds. Others have reported similar
ﬁndings. Testing of synthetic turf products preinstallation will
ensure products meet appropriate environmental guidelines.
J There has been press concerning the potential of synthetic
turf to spread methicillin-resistant Staphylcoccus aureus
(MRSA) among players. Bacterial infections, such as MRSA,
have not been shown to be caused by synthetic turf ﬁelds.
J While an increased risk for human health effects as a result
of exposure to chemicals in crumb rubber was not identiﬁed
by the review, heat has been identiﬁed as a concern. Synthetic
turf ﬁelds absorb heat from the sun and get hotter than soil or
natural grass. Measures should be taken to reduce potential
for heat related illness:
j Shade and drinking water should be made accessible for
ﬁeld users to stay cool and hydrated.
j Heat warning signs should be posted at all athletic ﬁelds.
j Field staff should be instructed about potential heat
related risks involving synthetic turf, including overheating
j New technologies should be assessed as they become
available that help to reduce the ﬁeld temperature.
J Inﬁll type cannot be located in areas prone to ﬂooding.
J While made from highly recyclable materials, few opportuni-
ties exist for recycling synthetic turf and inﬁll at the end of
J Field installations are prone to seam failure due to
J Warranties are at times unreliable due to installers
going out of business.
J Designers must stay aware of emerging issues and assess
newer generation synthetic turf materials and construction
J Use purchasing protocols to select the best synthetic turf
products and require suppliers to provide information on
chemical content, heating absorbency properties, environmen-
tal factors, and health and safety factors.
People generally like to see grass in their parks, and it is
important to provide high quality lawns so that real nature
with all of its environmental and psychological beneﬁts can
be experienced. This requires enforcing rules which prohibit
active uses on passive use lawns in order to prevent them from
being compacted and turned into dust bowls. It is important to
have alternative places for active recreation sports nearby.
Natural turf ﬁelds cannot be maintained in heavily used
active use areas unless they are closed when wet and closed
annually in September, October, and November for grass
reestablishment. The soil structure required for premier grass
ﬁelds such as the Great Lawn in Central Park require a soil
high in sand to reduce compaction, the use of irrigation and
fertilizer, and a closely monitored closure system when ﬁelds
are wet. This level of care is beyond the means of most park
operations budgets and staff allocations.
Synthetic surface allows maximum use of the ﬁelds without
closure, so they can be reliably permitted constantly, decreas-
ing the need for additional ﬁelds required to meet growing
demand. Permittees may use the ﬁelds in any weather condi-
tion, year round, avoiding closures required for rain or grass
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested