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Beautiful Eco-Style Ideas For Selecting Outdoor Patio Furniture Made From Recycled Plastics

Summer is always a special time for enjoying our outdoor living spaces by inviting family and friends over for barbeques and a good time.

While entertaining, we also like it when our outdoor environment is beautiful and comfortable so everyone can enjoy it. If it’s your first home or you’re just looking for some new outdoor patio furniture and you have an eco-penchant, then I have some ideas for you.

POLYWOOD Mission 8 Piece Deep Seating Set made using HDPE recycled plastic. Photo courtesy of POLYWOOD Furniture.

An eco-material that’s become increasingly popular over recent years is recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which things like plastic bottles of milk, shampoo, and detergent are made of.

HDPE plastic has the number 2 recycle symbol. It’s known for its high strength-to-density ratio, as well as other properties including its low risk of leaching and corrosion-resistant properties, including resistance to environmental stressors, such as salt water, fungus, and insects.

Some other benefits of buying furniture made from HDPE – especially recycled HDPE – is that since it’s plastic, it can’t rot, and since it’s high density plastic, it won’t splinter or crack. Other benefits of the plastic over wood, include that is doesn’t require waterproofing, painting, staining, or other similar maintenance.

Another great aspect of HDPE plastics is that the color is mixed in during the molten stage of production, so the color runs all the way through the material and is very resistant to fading from sun exposure. Many companies also add an ultraviolet (UV) ray resistant additive into their materials to increase their resistance to fading.  

I found three great companies – POLYWOOD Furniture, Trex Outdoor Furniture, and Loll Designs – that have really nice looking as well as large collections of outdoor patio furniture made from recycled HDPE plastic. Two of the companies actually manufacture their own plastics.

POLYWOOD Furniture

POLYWOOD Furniture’s outdoor patio furniture is created from the company’s own “HDPE recycled plastic lumber,” which is made from 90 percent plastic bottles and containers.

POLYWOOD Furniture features styles including traditional, nautical, beach themes, country themes, and ultra-modern. The company sells furniture in individual pieces like tables, chairs, rocking chairs, benches, and swings, but also sells sets.

POLYWOOD Club 5 Piece Deep Seating Set made using HDPE recycled plastic. Photo courtesy of POLYWOOD Furniture.

One of my favorite sets from the company is the POLYWOOD Club 5 Piece Deep Seating Set, which has a nice modern, but also cozy look. In addition to being constructed of recycled HDPE plastic that looks good, it also comes with Sunbrella cushions which are resistant to outdoor weathering conditions including sun, salt, mildew, and mold. The company also says that the cushions have a built in drain system for rapid drying. This set includes a chair, loveseat, sofa, coffee table, and side table.

Trex Outdoor Furniture

Trex Outdoor Furniture is great because it has a wide variety of outdoor patio furniture, and is a division of Trex Co., which also builds and installs decks, porches, and outdoor lighting systems.

The outdoor furniture division has a large number of collections made from recycled HDPE POLYWOOD plastic material, and the styles including traditional, nautical, country, and ultra-modern. The furniture can be sold as sets or as individual pieces to allow customers to customize according to their needs and styles.

The thing that I don’t like about the website is that it doesn’t show you the price of things and you actually have to go to the local dealer to find out. That being said, I do like the furniture styles that they have.

The sets include dining sets, rockers, swings, benches, and chaise lounges. All of the furniture is also color customizable with options including shades of black, gray, navy blue, white, and brown.

Surf City Collection dinning set made using HDPE recycled plastic. Photo courtesy of Trex Outdoor Furniture.

Some of my favorite pieces that I like from Trex come out of their Surf City collection, which have a very modern feel. The various sized dining tables and assortment of chairs and benches can be combined and all customized in terms of plastic color and aluminum frame color. The plastic color options include: dark green, brown, dark brown, gray, white, and black. The aluminum comes in shades of white, gray, and black. All of the pieces are made in the United States.

Loll Designs

Loll Designs is an interesting company because of the unique origins of how it came to make its outdoor furniture.

Loll was developed from the founders of TrueRide, a municipal skate park design and build contracting company based in Duluth, Minn. The founders were looking for an environmentally friendly way to reduce the amount of their raw waste materials from going into landfills.

The company explains that, “In 2003 Loll Designs was conceived as a way to repurpose excess skate ramp material into outdoor furniture” made using recycled HDPE plastic materials.

Fresh Air Collection made using HDPE recycled plastic. Photo courtesy of Loll Designs.

Loll also says that, for example, the chair parts come from the plastic side ramp panels made from thick HDPE plastics, which themselves originated from reclaimed milk jugs. The company adds that its products are made from 100 percent recycled HDPE plastic.

As with all furniture that uses HDPE plastic, the colors run all the way through the material. While as with the other companies mentioned, Loll uses UV-additives to reduce fading, the furniture will still experience varying degrees of fading depending on the color selected.

Loll explains that the colors that will fade the least over time include: black, charcoal gray, chocolate brown, white, evergreen, and pale blue. In contrast, the company says the colors more prone to changing over time include: apple red, orange, leaf green, and sand (a light tan color).

The design styles range from a very traditional to modern beach feel. Much of the furniture is also designed with a combination of straight lines and curves that really lets you see their skate park inspired roots.

The company creates all of its own designs, but also works with designers including: Eric Pfeiffer, Christopher Douglas, Eva Sobesky, and Studio Murmur.

One of my favorite collections from the company is the Fresh Air collection. The pieces have clean modern lines, but still have a nice beachy country feel. A nice feature of the benches is that they have planks that slightly angle inward, which the company explains are designed “for a comfortable sit that won’t allow water to pool on top.”

The pieces in the collection can be ordered in colors including: gray, leaf green, white, apple red, sky blue, chocolate, evergreen, and sand. All of the pieces from the company are sold separately giving customers the most opportunity to customize styles and sizes to their needs.

A nice thing about the website is that it does have the prices of each piece and it also allows consumers the option of either shopping online or finding a local retailer.

In all cases, furniture made from HDPE recycled plastic is not cheap, but it’s extremely well made, very durable, and looks really nice.

Reader comments and input are always welcomed! 

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Reader Comments (2)

I definitely would like to try out some of these ideas one of these days. I think that having patio furniture is the best. Spending time outside is definitely something that I need to do a little more of.
February 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Adair
I absolutely love all these patio sets! They look so clean and fresh and modern. I would love to get some patio furniture, since right now my patio just has a couple of old chairs. Something bright and fun would be really great, because then I could have great colors outside as well as inside!
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Myers

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