Trex Company, Inc. known to global consumers and others simply as Trex or Trex Decking, is the leading recycled materials manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railings and other outdoor items. It has been a public company since 1999 and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TREX”. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Winchester, VA, USA. With manufacturing facilities in Fernley, Nevada and Winchester, Virginia, the company’s products are sold in 29 countries. Trex products are carried by approximately 6,700 retail locations worldwide.
According to public documents, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, with approximate 2015 annual revenues reported of $441 million, annual operating income of $77.4 million and net income of $48.1 million. James E. Cline was named President and CEO of Trex effective August 17, 2015. Bryan H. Fairbanks was named Vice President and CFO effective August 17, 2015. Key executives of Trex Decking include; James E. Cline, President and Chief Executive Officer; Bryan H. Fairbanks, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Ron Kaplan, Chairman; Jay Scripter, Vice President of Operations, Chris Gerhard, Vice President, Sales; Adam Zambanini, Vice President, Marketing; Bill Gupp, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary.
Trex is widely considered as one of the inventors of composite decking made from recyclable materials. The idea for a process and product created to maximize the use of materials that would otherwise wind up in landfills is credited to inventors Kjell-Ake Gustafsson, of Binghamton, NY; John J. Muller, of Winchester, VA; and Roger A. Wittenberg of Newton, PA.
The first patent for a “Method of Producing a Wood-Thermoplastic Composite Material” was filed as U.S. Patent number 5746958 in March 1995 and granted in May 1998. The Assignee was Trex Company LLC, operating in Winchester, VA. The process abstract for the creation of composite decking is: “A method for producing a wood-thermoplastic composite material using a high bulk density feedstock. Since the feedstock is easy to handle it provides manufacturers with lots of control over the process. Prompted by the prospect of environmental regulations mandating recycled materials, this process uses spent sawdust and plastic material rather than disposing of it.”
Trex continues to employ a process that combines different materials, mostly wood and plastic, that are formed to create a product that has the appearance of wood. The wood content in Trex products is largely wood byproducts like sawdust, wood pallets, wood chips and wood fiber. The polyethylene plastic continues to be mostly recycled materials from commonly discarded items like stretch wrap, packaging films, grocery and retail bags and case/carton/product overwraps. Trex uses about 100,000 tons of waste polyethylene film each year and claims to keep 200,000 tons of plastic and hardwood scraps out of American landfills each year. Over 120,000 pieces of post consumer film (packaging, bags, overwraps, etc.) can be used to create a 500-square-foot Trex deck. The components are mixed and a pigment and preservative are added during the process. The mixture is then heated, formed into a board shape, and cooled.
In 2009 Trex introduced a ‘Transcend’ line of decking that is a co-extruded composite decking product that includes a shell around the composite boards on three sides to protect the boards from staining, fading and scratching. The Trex Transcend line of decking claims a recycled content rate of 95.4%.
Trex products include:
Trex promotes an environmental stance as part of its commercial appeal in the marketplace. In public materials, Trex Company, Inc. cites that no trees are cut down to make Trex decking products; that the company uses vegetable-based oil hydraulics in transportation trailers; and that it recycles factory waste back into the manufacturing line.
Trex composite decking contains 97% recycled content and offers verification by ICC-ES. In July 2010 Trex received a Verification of Attributes Report (VAR-1011) from the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) under the Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation Program. The verification validates Trex’s wood-alternative products are manufactured with a minimum of 95.4% recycled content. Trex claims is the first composite decking manufacturer to obtain this certification.
Trex has been a member of the Green Building Council, a trade group promoting environmentally friendly building practices, (USGBC) since 2009. USGBC is best known for the widely recognized LEED program (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).
Through the LEED point-based system, the use of Trex decking and railing products add points based on the percentage of recycled product content.
Trex conducts and participates in eco-friendly educational and recycling programs in various parts of the United States. Since 2006, students at selected schools throughout the East Coast and Midwest have participated in a ‘Trex Plastic Bag Challenge’ (recently renamed ‘Plastic Film Recycling Challenge’ ). Students collect plastic bags in exchange for a gift of Trex benches to participating schools.
The company has also provided in-kind contributions, financial assistance and expertise to environmental projects around the country. These include:
Trex corporate participation in environmental efforts, coupled with its eco-friendly product profile, has led to recognition by governments, publications and trade groups.
Lawsuit: A manufacturing problem at the Trex manufacturing facility in Fernley, Nevada led to the production of some decking boards from 2002 to 2007 that were prone to surface flaking. These boards were sold throughout 16 Western states in the U.S. and resulted in a class action suit against the company. In a settlement approved in 2010 Trex agreed to replace any decking boards, including some resulting labor costs, for decking affected by surface flaking.
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