PHOTO COURTESY OF TANGENT MATERIALS
Coney Island Opts for Sustainable Boardwalk Material
Ten years ago, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation contacted Tangent Materials regarding using its materials to rebuild the Coney Island Boardwalk at Brighton Beach. The materials for the project needed to have safer, stronger properties than the imported Amazon hardwood the department was using, while remaining environmentally friendly. NYC Parks wanted a material that retained a traditional look and feel while maintaining the city's social responsibility on reducing deforestation.
Department staff reviewed multiple materials, from domestic hardwoods like maple and oak to other materials like recycled plastic lumber and concrete, evaluating these materials across a number of features including availability, lifecycle, cost to build, etc. NYC Parks reviewed other boardwalks that had used similar materials for their analysis as well and found that within a few years, domestic hardwoods developed signs of deterioration, warping, splintering and mold. Another factor for consideration was the substantial amount of materials NYC Parks would need to complete the project. Utilizing hardwoods could destroy more than 6,000 acres of tropical rainforest and destroy 45,200 acres to reconstruct the boardwalk altogether. Due to these kinds of issues, NYC Parks would need to consider frequent repairs, closing down the area, and the extensive costs of doing so.
After analyzing the available material options, NYC Parks determined that recycled plastic lumber would be the best choice for rebuilding the Coney Island boardwalk. The estimated lifecycle for recycled plastic lumber is 20 years for a commercial installation, providing a long-lasting solution that doesn't need constant repairs. Plastic lumber also has similar aesthetics to wood and will not rot, deteriorate or splinter like traditional wood materials.
"Recycled plastic lumber fared better during Superstorm Sandy, and it has a much longer life expectancy in high-pedestrian traffic areas than hardwoods, which showed deterioration, warping, splintering and mold within a few years," said NYC Parks.
Recycled plastic lumber by Tangent has been durable, remained resilient and continues to last through whatever environmental conditions may come its way.
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