American Plastic Lumber

American Plastic Lumber INC is a company that produces plastic that looks like wood and lumber, which can be used to build fences, benches, and bridges. Pretty much anything you can build with lumber, you can build with their products. APL Claims that its products are made 100% from recycled materials such as milk jugs and detergent containers. They are very adamant about this. This is the center of their marketing strategy that they use recyclable materials and that they are an environmentally friendly company. The Idea of using plastic lumber seems to be a brilliant idea. We can build what we need to build without chopping down trees or using fossil fuels to produce even more plastic. But, unfortunately, we have been bamboozled. It turns out that the product is not as environmentally friendly as the APL company advertises. The FTC did a study on the American Plastic lumber INC, it turns out that “in reality the products contained less than 79 percent post-consumer content, on average.” Also “about eight percent of APL’s products contained no post-consumer recycled content at all, and nearly seven percent of the products were made with only 15 percent post-consumer content.” This seems even worse when the company strongly advertised that its products are 100% made out of recycled materials. Now 79% recycled materials seem pretty good, better than 0% recycled material, but imagine if you ordered a hamburger and on average it was only 79% beef. You might think twice about ordering that hamburger. This is the 7th sin of greenwashing. They flat out lied to their customers. It is a shame that this product isn’t completely 100% made from recycled materials. I believe it is a good alternative to using wood for building. But it just goes to show, you really have to do your research before you buy your product, because even when companies claim that they are green, they may just be lying to you.


By: Tom Walters

One thought on “American Plastic Lumber

  1. This probably happens a lot more than we think with companies claiming they are being more environmentally friendly than they actually are. It seems like a good idea and a great alternative to using actual lumber, which would really help the deforestation problem. We must always watch out for companies claiming that their products are “green” because a lot of the times they are not. I really liked your analogy to the hamburger because I don’t think anyone would want to eat something that is 21% something they have no clue as to what it is.

    Jacob Fischer


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