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What Is Poly-Wood®?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 16, 2024
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Poly-Wood® consists of a durable, plastic product used to make outdoor furniture manufactured with recycled materials. The process uses milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other discarded plastic containers to create sheets of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These plastic sheets are crafted into furniture, just as sheets of wood would be used. The furniture withstands harsh weather, insect damage, and corrosion because moisture does not penetrate Poly-Wood®.

The material is popular for outdoor patio furniture because it can be left outside all year. It is not harmed by high humidity and is not prone to rot or mildew. The product does not crack in the sun and endures salt, ice, or snow without damage. Manufacturers use stainless steel hardware on the furniture to enhance its weather-resistant capabilities.

Recycled plastic bottles are first cleaned to remove any labels, glues, and food particles before going through a decontamination process. Plastic pellets from the material are mixed with additives and other compounds before they are transformed into sheets. The end product consists of 90 percent recycled plastic.

Poly-Wood® products include Adirondack chairs, benches, and small side tables. Dining tables in various sizes and styles are also available, and some can be ordered with cushions. Planters and lounge chairs represent other Poly-Wood® products that can be purchased. Some come fully assembled, while others need assembly after delivery.

The manufacturer of Poly-Wood® started with an idea hatched by two high school boys in a garage. These Indiana teens devised a way to make lumber from old plastic milk containers. The firm grew as the desire for recycled products came to the forefront to address environmental concerns. Poly-Wood® expanded internationally over the years.

Poly-Wood® is ecologically-friendly because it does not require cutting down trees to produce outdoor furniture. Once constructed, this furniture can be recycled seven more times. Reusing plastic bottles reduces the amount of trash in landfills and potentially harmful effects to the earth.

The furniture comes in six bright colors and several wood colors, some with a wood grain appearance. No painting is necessary because the color completely infuses the plastic, but the furniture may fade after lengthy exposure to the sun. The plastic resists stains, even from oils.

Maintenance of Poly-Wood® furniture typically involves wiping with soap and water. A small brush might help remove dirt from crevices on wood-grain styles and between slats. If an owner chooses to disinfect the furniture, bleach can be used without affecting the color or finish.

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Discussion Comments
By anon336285 — On May 27, 2013

Does anyone know how to remove a white film that is on all six of my polywood chaise lounges? We live near the ocean so could it be a salt film?

We have tried bleach and water with no success.

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