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Environmental comparison of decking made from ACQ treated timber and wood-plastic composite

Environmental comparison of decking made from ACQ treated timber and wood-plastic composite

how sustainable is…

This study compares the environmental performance of two types of decking material:

The study covers the environmental impacts of the two types of decking material across their entire life cycle, from material production and processing to use and disposal. For timber, it includes the environmental impact of applying a sealer once the decking is installed.

The study considers a wide range of environmental impacts, including:

According to the study, ACQ treated timber has a significantly lower environmental impact than wood plastic composite. Specifically, ACQ was found to have:

  • 14 times less fossil fuel use
  • almost three times lower greenhouse gas emissions, potential smog emissions, and water use

WPC did not perform better than ACQ in any of the impact categories considered.

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

If you are in the market for a new deck and your options are either alkaline copper quarternary (ACQ) treated decking or wood composite plastic (WCP) based decking, then ACQ is the better choice from an environmental perspective, according to this study. Alternatively, you may be able to use recycled timber. This usually comes at a lower cost and instantly gets you that rustic look.

If the material is not for a new house but you are replacing an existing deck, make sure you cannot repair your existing deck instead. Not only is this likely to save you money, it will also have a lower environmental impact than either of the options above!

Report Rating: 1 out of 3

Report Published: 2011

Country: US

Author(s): Christopher A. Bolin, Stephen Smith

Publisher: Verduurzaamd Hout Nederland (association of companies in the wood treatment business in the Netherlands)

Funder: Treated Wood Council (TWC), US

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, environmental performance, environmental impact, decking, timber, wood plastic composite, treated lumber, ACQ

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