Plastic, the environment's worst nightmare, is changing our landscapes for the better but not in the way you were thinking...
For a long time, waste plastic has been the bane of eco-warriors across the globe. Litter strewn across countryside walks, clogging drains and filling our oceans, the public outcry against waste plastic has never been so keen.
With the BBC's Blue Planet and David Attenborough bringing the plight of our oceans' wildlife to the public eye, there is a growing need to take waste plastics out of the cycle. Instead of finding their way to landfill, whereupon they degrade and become fragments that get blown away, companies such as Hahn Plastics have bourne innovative products made entirely out of this waste.
Processing waste plastic into luxury landscaping products
The idea was clear: remove waste plastic and repurpose it for long-term, environmentally friendly re-use. This grand upcycling project began life in 1993, with its inception as one of the first companies within the industry to manufacture new plastics products purely from used plastics. Today Hahn Plastic's flagship hanit® range boasts a production capacity of over 200,000m2 of plastics, moulded into landscaping products that far outperform their traditional wood counterparts.
This forward thinking approach has allowed landscapers for the first time to consider sourcing materials with a more eco-conscious approach. From felling virgin forests for timber to taking rubbish out of our verges, we now have landscaping products that save our historic woodlands as well as keeping them free of litter.
It is well known how plastics take many years, even millenia, to break down but used in a more permanent setting, such as landscape gardens, this makes it much longer lasting than any type of timber - hardwood or softwood - could ever be. Plastics simply do not rot. When made to such high standards as hanit®, this makes it the ultimate choice in maintenance-free landscape garden design. Plastics contain pigments, so do not need to be stained. Good quality plastics are UV-stable, meaning they will not degrade in the sunshine. Clearly it is hard to argue against its performance.
There will always be arguments against plastics' appearance and until very recently, most of these arguments were well founded. Plastic garden products did look, well, very much like plastic. Take, for example, the composite decking and cladding market: an industry so heavily dominated by traditional timber companies because timber was a much more natural, aesthetically pleasing product. Rightly, the industry has had to adapt and produce much more life-like products. As our technological ability has improved, so has the end product. Combining this innovation with the desire to reduce waste gives us products that look and feel quality whilst being at no cost to the environment on the whole.
Recycled plastic products are used in the public and in homes
From open public areas to luxury outdoor entertainment spaces, the use of upcycled plastic building components are everywhere. Bollards, joists, decking, public benches, edging and parking grids are just some of the many, many products that have been made from your household waste and are now improving gardens across the globe.
When next taking out your recylcing bin, imagine your garden improved by the plastic milk bottle you're throwing away; the toothbrush you no longer need; the cooking utensil handle that snapped off. Imagine the country walk free of chocolate bar wrappers and coke bottles in the hedge. Imagine the time you'd save maintaining your garden if these products were in place.
If you, like us, are keen on helping tackle the global plastics waste problem, then consider what changes you can make to your garden that would benefit you and the environment.