Naturally inspired

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    Rethinking eco-design: responding to the plastics crisis

    By Jemma
    Nov 11, '19 7:55 AM EST

    It’s fair to say that plastic use is rapidly falling out of fashion. Thanks to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary series, the Climate Extinction movement, and Greta Thunberg’s individual activism, we’ve all started thinking about how we can individually reduce our reliance on this harmful material.

    Some changes are obvious. We can all ditch bottled water and invest in reusable drink’s bottles. And we can switch plastic bags for jute, hemp or cotton totes.

    But thinking beyond those simple changes, we can also opt to furnish our homes and gardens with design materials that are less harmful to the planet.

    Take decking, for example. This extremely popular outdoor design feature has courted controversy given the links to deforestation (timber for decks is often hardwood exported from the Amazon). Therefore, many landscapers and architects sensibly made the switch to composites or plastic decks. But with the new emphasis on plastic reduction, it’s difficult to know what to do.

    UK-based luxury outdoor flooring specialists Millboard have solved this particular issue with their innovative decking. Unlike other composite decking boards that are made from melted plastics, the structural core of Millboard decking is a blend of natural minerals bonded in a polyurethane resin. Polyurethane is inert, safe and extremely versatile, and its production process uses less than 0.1% of oil consumed worldwide, saving 14.5 tonnes of CO2 in Europe each year — the equivalent to one year’s worth of electricity-use in two million homes.

    Even their decking support material (‘Plas-Pro’) is made from 100% recycled plastic, further contributing to the company’s mission to enhance outdoor spaces without damaging the planet. They’ve recently released calculations that demonstrate that over the past year, for every 1kg of plastic that they’ve used, they also used 53.45kg of recycled plastic within their Plas-Pro material.

    Millboard’s environmental awareness permeates the company’s processes and procedures. In fact, the company is the world’s only manufacturer of hand-moulded polyurethane decking and the first premium outdoor flooring company to have its carbon footprint independently verified and UKAS accredited.

    Companies like Millboard are proof that consumers no longer need to make compromises when it comes to their ethics on plastic use. As more companies pick up the mantle and innovate their way out of the current pollutions crisis, we can expect to see further dramatic falls in the sales of plastic-based goods.

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About this Blog

This blog covers the most energising and restorative landscaping, biophillic architecture and perma-culture projects taking place across the world! I'm interested in how we incorporate nature into our environments, particularly urban environments. As we progress into the twenty-first century, we appear to be moving ever-further from the futuristic aesthetic that our predecessors imagined back in the mid-century. This blog looks at the methods and psychology of natural influence.

Authored by:

  • Jemma

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