Recycled plastic paving stones offer a viable option that has both economic and environmental advantages. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that over 30 million tons of plastics were generated in 2007, with just under 7 percent recovered for recycling.
The amount of plastics generated shows the enormous potential for recycled products. Nearly 80 times more plastics were generated in 2007 compared to 1960. Soft drink bottle and milk jug recycling showed the greatest recycling rate. The advantage of recycling is that due to the nature of plastic resins, plastics can be continually recycled.
Already, recycled plastics have found a market with plastic lumber. According to the Plastic Lumber Company, Inc., one board foot of plastic lumber uses just over 16 recycled milk jugs. This figure translates into a significant reduction of landfill waste. Expanding that market to recycled plastic paving stones can increase the environmental benefits.
Benefits of Plastic Paving Stones
For the homeowner, recycled plastic paving stones offer several benefits. The stones are durable. Like plastic lumber, they will not split, break, or deteriorate, making them virtually indestructible. Compare this to asphalt which may last 8 to 15 years or concrete which would last 2 to 25 years, according to Millennial Living. While plastic paving stones may be more expensive to purchase, their longevity makes them a solid investment.
One concern in urban areas is the amount of impervious surfaces such as driveways, patios, and sidewalks. When it rains, these surfaces provide a resistant-free pathway that increases water flow, leading to soil erosion and polluted runoff. Plastic paving stones offer a solution.
A patio or sidewalk made with plastic paving stones allows water to permeate into the ground. This effect slows water and helps prevent runoff. Because of their indestructible nature, you can use them to divert water to a rain garden or cistern. Water can then replenish the aquifers after being filtered through the soil.
You can use these paving stones just as you would concrete or stone pavers. To reduce shipping costs, measure the area where you intend to use them accurately and order all the pavers you will need at one time. Some companies may offer free shipping with larger orders.
Sources of Plastic Paving Stones
Several online companies offer plastic paving stones including Natural Built Home, Clean Air Gardening, and Home Depot. You will find that the plastic pavers are very realistic looking and will be a welcome addition to your home landscaping project.
The pavers from Clean Air Gardening are made from approximately 80 plastic grocery bags each. Due to the availability of recycling, plastic bag recycling is just 10 percent of products generated. Some states such as California require businesses to collect plastic bags, proving a source of raw materials which can make similar paving stones more widely available.
Using plastic paving stones gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting plastic recycling. You are also benefiting the environment by choosing an earth-friendly option.