Fastenal, an industrial supplies company, has established a partnership with outdoor building products company Trex to use recycled products to create sustainable building materials
Trex’s portfolio primarily pertains to composite decking, which is made from 95% recycled and reclaimed materials. These materials also include a mix of polyethylene (PE) film and industrial wood scrap. Fastenal will collect used PE film and ship it to Trex for repurposing and recycling. This scrap supply agreement introduces a solution to reduce waste and create eco-friendly building materials.
The Scrap Supply Agreement
As Fastenal collects used PE film at its distribution centers and branches and then ships it to Trex for manufacturing, one primary concern is PE film, also known as “pallet wrap” in the distribution industry. This pallet wrap is crucial for daily operations as it is used to package pallets for shipment. However, after its initial use, the pallet wrap serves no purpose.
According to Dave Olson, Director of EHS & Sustainability for Fastenal, the pallet wrap is sent to Trex and turned into sustainable outdoor building products. Since the pallet wrap would wind up as waste otherwise, the pallet wrap, a vital material for Fastenal’s daily operations, is given a new purpose, which is beneficial to both Fastenal and Trex.
Recycling Waste and Sustainable Endeavors
Fastenal has invested more than $300,000 in equipment and infrastructure across its United States distribution centers to support the recycling program agreement with Trex. This investment enables efficient baling and consolidation of used PE film, ensuring that this material is optimally prepared for recycling by Trex.
In the program’s first year, Fastenal anticipates diverting a substantial 600,000 pounds of plastic from landfills through material collected within its distribution centers. This impact is primarily generated by the high volume of pallet wrap received as inbound shipments from suppliers. Moreover, the initiative extends to more than 2,500 U.S. Fastenal branches and Onsite locations, which actively participate by utilizing Fastenal’s established truck routes to transport used materials to nearby distribution centers. From there, the material is baled, consolidated, and sent to Trex for recycling.
Trex’s Recycling Track Record
Trex, which uses wood-alternative composite decking, railing, and outdoor building products made from recycled materials, said it annually repurposes more than 1 billion pounds of reclaimed materials. The company said it has been cited as one of North America’s largest recyclers of PE film.
Its NexTrex Recycling Program engages commercial businesses and community organizations across the country, collecting and transporting recycled plastic material to its manufacturing facilities in Winchester, Virginia, and Fernley, Nevada. Fastenal and Trex’s scrap supply agreement offers a new approach to sustainable building providing a way to repurpose waste for outdoor building products.