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New ASTM Standard Provides Requirements for Use of Plastic Lumber


A new ASTM International standard presents all the requirements needed so that plastic lumber materials can be appropriately specified for uses, such as main and secondary framing members, in which improved mechanical properties are essential. The new standard, ASTM D7568, Specification for Polyethylene-Based Structural-Grade Plastic Lumber for Outdoor Applications, was developed by Subcommittee D20.20 on Plastic Lumber, part of ASTM International Committee D20 on Plastics.

D7568 is applicable to solid, rectangular SGPL products in which polyethylene resin (non cross-linked) is the continuous phase and represents at least 50 percent of the product by weight. Fiber reinforcements used in SGPL products include manufactured materials such as fiberglass (chopped or continuous), carbon, aramid and other polymeric materials. The new standard provides criteria under which SGPL products can be produced. It also includes calculation equations for some parameters.

“Plastic lumber materials are alternatives to wood and wood/plastic composite materials, and structural-grade plastic lumber materials can be used in a variety of applications, including decks, bridges and railroad ties” says Marcelo Hirschler, GBH International, and a longtime member of ASTM International. Plastic lumber is resistant to moisture, rot and insects, and does not need chemical treatments.

Plastic lumber products as covered by ASTM D7568 can be used as main framing members, including joist, stringers, beams and columns as well as secondary framing members, which would include planking, posts and bracing. In addition, the specification covers the use of plastic lumber in outdoor structures such as decks, boardwalks, docks and platforms.

Hirschler notes that anyone with an interest in plastic lumber is invited to join in the standards developing activities of D20.20. The subcommittee currently has six test methods and three specifications under its jurisdiction. In addition, D20.20 is cooperating on the revisions of other standard specifications associated with plastic composite materials. 

To purchase ASTM standards, visit and search by the standard designation, or contact ASTM Customer Relations (phone: 877-909-ASTM; ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

For more news in this sector, visit or follow us on Twitter @ASTMBuildings.

ASTM Committee D20 Next Meeting: Nov. 10-13, 2013, November Committee Week, Jacksonville, Fla.
Technical Contact: Marcelo M. Hirschler, GBH International, Mill Valley, Calif, Phone: 415-388-8278; 
ASTM Staff Contact: Alyson Fick, Phone: 610-832-9710; 
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Release #9362

April 26, 2013

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