film recycling

Trex’s PE usage fell from 421 million pounds in 2021 to 409 million pounds in 2022, then to 328 million pounds in 2023. | HappyStockPhoto/Shutterstock

Composite decking company Trex used about 328 million pounds of recycled PE in its decking in 2023, a dip from years past.

The company’s 2023 Sustainability Report, “Seeing More Value in Sustainability,” noted that the company used 421 million pounds of PE in 2021 and fell to 409 million pounds in 2022. Its Q1 2024 investors presentation noted residential adjusted sales were highest in 2021 at just over $1.14 billion, dropping to $1.06 billion in 2022 and $1.1 billion in 2023. 

The end of 2023 saw “historically low inventories,”  Bryan Fairbanks, Trex president and CEO, said in the Q1 2024 earnings call. In addition, Trex is regaining shelf space in stores that had been shared with smaller brands during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic due to overall supply chain pressures. 

“A lot of those accounts that were really forced to take in some excess product because their existing suppliers didn’t have enough capacity at the time,” Fairbanks said. “We’ve seen them turn back to the brands that they’ve trusted before, and we’ve seen all of those consumers come back to Trex again.” 

Trex is one of the largest recyclers of PE film bags, wraps and packaging in North America and also recycles nearly 100% of its production scrap back into its process. Since its founding, the company said, it has recycled more than 5 billion pounds of plastic film. 

“The enduring appeal of Trex products lies in their quality, longevity, innovation and sustainability, which have been fundamental to the Trex brand since our founding,” Bryan Fairbanks, president and CEO, said in a press release. “We are proud of the accomplishments noted in our most recent report and, because sustainability is in our DNA, Trex will continue to use the earth’s resources wisely through recycling as we grow our business in the years to come.”

Trex is working to find new feedstock sources, the report noted. Its PE sourcing program NexTrex focuses on community sources, and in 2023, over 3 million pounds of PE came from municipalities, nonprofits, small businesses, schools and others. 

The company is working to take back decking at its end of life and “intends to be in a leadership position to address the logistical challenge of recovering waste material from distant geographies,” the report noted. 

Based in Virginia, Trex has a manufacturing facility in Nevada and another facility under construction in Arkansas, expected to come online in 2026.

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