Every stage of civilization is characterized by its use of energy. From burning wood to steam engines to our electrified society, energy is behind everything we do. Over time, human society has become increasingly energy intensive. As our standards of living have improved and as we overcome the effects of weather – either cold or warm – it takes more and more energy to live the lives we lead.
One of the most notable success stories in recycling is that of structural plastic lumber. The material is mostly polyethylene reinforced with stiff plastics or recycled composites. Made from milk containers, coffee cups, and other recycled plastics, structural plastic lumber is lighter than steel, longer-lasting than natural lumber and strong enough to support 120-ton locomotives.