A Community Project at Ainsley Gardens, London, Raised Bed Herb Gardens
18 Excellent Reasons for choosing Recycled Plastic Profiles in Construction of Raised Beds
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
A local community on Wilmot Street, London got a grant to build some raised herb beds in Ainsley Gardens, a piece of land shared by the whole street, but lying largely unused and overgrown. The group chose recycled plastic profiles for 17 very good reasons. The first step was to work out how to construct them, and a hand drawn plan was created as a rough guide. This was emailed to Kedel Limited, a recycled plastic distributor and manufacturer of this type of lumber based in Colne, Lancashire.
What are Recycled Plastic Profiles?
Recycled plastic profiles are sometimes referred to as plastic lumber or even plastic wood, though there is no wood content. This material is manufactured from 100% recycled post-industrial plastic, that would otherwise end up in landfill. Being plastic it will of course never rot, is impact resistant (a deterrant to vandals), and algae, moss and frost proof. Graffiti, which is a common problem in urban environments can simply be wiped off as paint cannot penetrate beyond the surface skin. It can be cleaned either with normal household detergents, or for stubborn cases a bit of WD40.
Kedel Limited, who supplied the lumber, scrutinised the hand-made plan and offered all kinds of very useful help for reliable construction of the large beds. The community group have been recommending Kedel ever since, and have included their contact details on their blog.
What really impressed them about this the tough, durable, maintenance free alternative to treated wood was that besides the obvious environmental advantages, the recycled plastic lumber had a life span many times greater than wood, and would never need any toxic treatments paint of creosote.
What are the 18 main benefits?
Recycled Plastic production uses 66% less energy than needed for virgin plastic
Only 1/3rd of the sulphur dioxide is released
1/2 as much nitrous oxide
90% less water usage
250% less carbon dioxide is released
1.8 tonnes less oil is used per tonne of recycled plastic produced
Lasts at least 5 times longer than treated timber
Vandal Resistant including graffiti - very difficult to damage, move or steal
Crack, chip, warp and splinter proof
Less Flammable than timber - self extinguishes when flame is removed
Insects and animals will not eat it
Saves on labour as it requires no regular maintenance of the recycled plastic
High UV resistance to sunlight
Can be cleaned with normal household cleaners
Can be worked with commonly used woodworking tools
Can be screwed and bolted just like wood
Keeps lots of plastic out of expensive landfill sites
Whole life costs are minimal (up to 50 years)
The final product looks good "It’s like this sleek space-aged wonder material" commented the community team at Ainsley Gardens.
Raised Bed Tips?
This project relies on either rain or water carried from other residential flats (not ideal), as there is no mains water on site.
To help in water retention as well as weed control a membrane was placed over the soil. This lets water enter the beds and prevents them from drying out quickly. Just cut a whole in the membrane for your plants and you’re sorted.
Where can you source recycled plastic lumber?
The community at Wilmot Street ordered theirs from "the lovely folk at Kedel Limited". Kedel tweaked the design a little for their raised beds, making them structurally sound and likely to last a very long time. They definitely recommend Kedel to other community groups planning similar projects.
A traditional Picnic Table that looks and feels like wood but behaves like plastic. No rot, no painting, no maintenance. Made from 100% British sourced recycled plastic (crushed CD cases and old coat hangers). UV protected against fading in direct sunlight. Will still be looking good when all the wooden picnic tables have rotted away.
A unique wood like 3 Seater Garden Bench made out of British Recycled Plastic - synthetic wood. Looks and feels like wood, but behaves like plastic. No splinters for little fingers, no painting needed, does not rot. When all the wooden benches have rotted away this bench will still be looking good. Entirely maintenance free outdoor seating. Delivered on a pallet fully assembled.
Recycled Plastic Planks 150 x 25mm - A popular profile used for raised beds, planters, garden edging, fascia boards, barge boards, and quayside buffers. Tough, solid board that will never rot or need preservatives or paint