One of the biggest things to consider in building a green patio is biodegradability. Will the materials you use ultimately be broken down by nature? Or will they sit in a landfill for decades, taking up space?
It’s unfortunate, but most materials used in today’s buildings are not biodegradable.
By paying conscious attention to what your deck is made of, you can help reverse this trend.
==> The Number One Biodegradable Material
The number one biodegradable material in building a patio is wood. Wood is completely biodegradable and can be turned by nature back into nutrients that can feed the growth of other plants and animals.
The downside to using wood is that a tree has to be cut down. To compensate for that, make sure you buy from Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) certified wood. That’ll help ensure that the wood you’re using is not only biodegradable, but also sustainable.
==> Wood Plastic Composites
Wood plastic composites are unfortunately not biodegradable. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, however.
These materials are generally made from at least 40% recycled materials. They crack and warp less than wood and never have to be repainted.
In other words, their environmental footprint can be lower than wood, even if they’re not biodegradable.
==> Most Chemicals
Most chemicals, like detergents for cleaning your deck, paint, sealants and so on are not biodegradable. In fact, most complex chemicals are not biodegradable.
On top of the chemicals not being biodegradable, most of the containers that these chemicals come in also aren’t biodegradable. That means that the metal paint bucket and the plastic spray bottle will both end up in a landfill somewhere.
The solution? Use eco-friendly and green chemicals in the construction and maintenance of your patio. These green companies usually take extra care to make sure their chemicals are biodegradable. Furthermore, the containers that make up green chemicals are also biodegradable.
==> Patio Furniture
There are many different kinds of patio furniture.
Wood patio furniture is naturally biodegradable. If you choose to go the wood route, make sure to use a weather resistant wood like teak or cedar.
Another option is to use recycled plastic. Recycled plastic is not biodegradable, but it does support the recycling industry.
You can also buy furniture made from “plant based” plastics. These are plastics that are 100% biodegradable. They’re sturdy enough to withstand different climates, but are quite a bit pricier than standard plastics.
Finally, you’ve got everything else – metal, regular plastics, PVC and the like. These are by and large all not biodegradable.
These are some of the most common materials you’ll find when you’re building your patio. By choosing biodegradable materials today, you’ll ensure that your environmental footprint is small not only now, but also thirty years from today.