HOLLYWOOD, FLA. - BTW Indus-tries Inc., a Hollywood-based plastic lumber maker, has completed what the firm believes is one of the largest installations of plastic lumber in the country. Bob Lehrman, operations manager for the 5-year-old company, said BTW (which stands for Better Than Wood) provided 5 miles of dimensional plastic lumber for West Lake Park, a nature and recreational park in Broward County, Fla.
The structures include nature trails, boardwalks, floating docks, fishing piers, observation decks and an amphitheater, Lehrman said.
``We believe it may be the largest, or close to the largest use of plastic lumber in the country,'' he said in a telephone interview. ``It's larger by several times than the Tiffany Street project in New York City that everyone thinks of when they think about plastic lumber replacing wood in water-related projects. We estimate it took 7 million milk jugs, detergent, soda bottles, egg cartons and other commingled scrap for the project.''
Lehrman said BTW's lumber differs from some others because it does not rely on high density polyethylene as the major component. The company's plastic lumber consists of all seven types of commodity plastics, including polystyrene and PVC.
``We find that using other types than just HDPE makes the lumber tougher,'' he said. ``It isn't as easy to process as an all-HDPE product, but we find it has other capabilities.''
The product has a rough finish, which improves its non-slip properties, and increased strength, he said.
``It's not the prettiest lumber, but it looks just like weathered wood when it's made into a boardwalk, or something,'' he said. ``The costs of using commingled scrap is less than the cost of using primarily HDPE too, so that gives us a little price advantage.''
The company makes the lumber at its plant in Fort Myers, Fla., and is working on another park project in Cape Coral, Fla.