Plastic/Composite Roofing?

I saw these on an inspection of a condo in Maui today. I was just doing the inside so this is nothing directly related to my inspection but they caught my eye. As best I can tell they are a product very similar to Trex or other composite deck materials. Has anyone seen something like this?
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Tomco made a composite, vinyl type shingle years ago that look similar. When I inspected it, the shingles were 10 years old and were junk by then.

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Heard and read about them but I haven’t seen them in use. What I read stated they could last 40-50 years if installed correctly.

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Yeah, these were curling up in a lot of places too. They also seem to be very prone to staining from various things. That’s unlikely to have much impact on performance but sure looked like crap.

I’ve never been a fan of new/uncommon products like this. I’d be particularly weary putting something like this on an entire condo complex like had been done in this case. The AOAO boards in condos are often sold on this crap and when it fails the owners get slapped with huge assessments. Just give me a nice composition shingle that lasts for +/- 30 years and I’m happy.

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Wow, I was just wondering to myself why plastic shingles aren’t more ubiquitous.

An obvious con would be UV damage. cracking would be bad.

I was assuming that asphalt shingles get sent to the landfill and are incredibly unsustainable, but I just found out they can be recycled for paving roads and highways. I wonder what percentage of shingles actually get recycled, though.

Without knowing much about chemistry and plastics - it sure would be be nice if there was a plastic shingle that was robust enough to last for a while, then at some point take a bunch of damaged shingles, melt them down and form new ones. I can imagine that eventually happening. We have to stop stuffing old houses into the earth if we’re going to avoid The Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505.

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I have been involved in waste stream management for many years (outside of home inspection). I am no expert but when it comes to plastics, it is much more complex than I ever imagined.

The chemist who design the composition of a plastic widget sets the bar. Then, the manufacturer sources the materials. These materials need to be very consistent and sustainable. Plastics are easily contaminated chemically by mixing different types or with screws, glues etc. Roof shingles make terrible water bottles.

I think we do a good job with things like beverage bottles. But when it comes to other household plastics such as litter boxes, household appliances etc. it is a tough row to hoe. And the public (in this case roofers) need to be incentivized to take the time, energy and money to divert the plastic from the waste stream.

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yea I bet its complicated.

I stumbled upon this video years ago of a guy making a crude mallet head from HDPE milk jugs and I haven’t gotten it out my head since. Unfortunately HDPE performs poorly in UV, supposedly. Maybe you can have a milk jug roof covering deep in the woods of OR or something?

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California has an incentive program for the public to recycle. Other states have similar. This may help provide a continuous stream of consistent recycle product the manufacturer can depend on. Of course, once the state becomes the middle man then it is bound to be rife with inefficiency and corruption.

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Absolutely, especially when the oil and plastic industry lobby the government.

Coincidentally, NPR’s economy podcast Planet Money just today replayed an episode of theirs where they investigated the origins of the triangle-arrow recycling symbol that gets printed on plastics. They found that it was pushed by oil lobbyists, even though there were documents at the time proving that recycling all those types of plastics was infeasible. But it gave consumers the impression that they are reusable.

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I’ve heard this podcast and it’s really informative. In a related note I was talking to a flight attendant from an airline that walks down the aisles with two bags to separate out plastic/paper from trash. End of the flight where does it go? In the trash with the other bag.

Everything these days is about optics and appearing to care. The “green” folks get off the plane thinking they’ve done something good by supporting a company that cares… yeah, right. Companies care about the bottom line only.

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Astroturfing is some dark stuff, taking advantage of the publics well intentions to further screw them.

Although the concept of a “carbon footprint” is a valid way to look at oil consumption, it was taken advantage of by BP & and ad agency in order to shift the conversation from “what can companies do to be sustainable” to “what can consumers do to be sustainable”.

Keith McKoy, a top Exxon exec, was caught on tape admitting that Exxon would fund “shadow groups” who, in concert with Exxon, would support a carbon tax, but only because they knew it would never pass and it would take scrutiny off of Exxon.

Daaaark stuff.

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Here’s another one - electronic recycling:

It’s a long and winding story full of lies and deceit. The core of it is GPS trackers put in “recycled” devices that don’t end up going where they are supposed to.

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They do not care about a carbon tax, It will be passed down to the consumer. Same as corporate taxes in general. They will all be passed down to the consumer. Exxon can support a carbon tax for the optics which will help them stay in business longer.

Most people do not understand the difference between stock holders and stake holders. When that is clearly defined and stake holders get a voice similar to stock holders then something may change.

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Yea sure, there’s a whole other conversation about implementation of regulations, but it’s just another way that people who are profiting off petroleum products are able to say “don’t worry guyyys, there’s nothing to worry about”, when they actually know exactly what there is to worry about and they proceed anyway. Very deceptive business practices that externalization the true costs onto the consumer

Edit: for what it’s worth, because I feel like I have to say this these days, I had no doubt people like Biden participate in things like this too

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Cleaning, sorting or separating any recycle material is labor intensive. The efficiency mostly does not exist except for some bulk materials such as light iron. And, it is dangerous to the people doing the work and the water supply.

It is cheap to produce but expensive to recycle. I guess that is why most recycling is passed off to 3rd world countries or the impoverished.

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Yea, one of the main points in that episode.

And the companies that produce the plastic are saying, just like they did decades ago, “don’t worry - the technology is coming and most plastic will be completely reusable very soon!

When in reality, the opposite is happening. Technology is enabling many new forms of plastic and sorting it has become even more impossible

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So my question is. Are plastics the real threat? I am much more concerned with heavy metals and PFOA, PFOS and PFAS.

Heavy regulation of plastics and other recycle materials might help solve the problem. Meaning, during manufacturing the components must have a waste stream outside of landfills and recovering the components must be incorporated into the design. But I hate big government because they always F’it up.

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Irresponsible disposal of plastics seems to be one of the main causes of ecosystem damage, along with burning petroleum products (either effecting the climate or byproduct run-off into water systems). Although, micro plastics have been found in human placentas in the past decade or so, so it may be migrating into our actual biology.

Those so-called forever chemicals and heavy metals seem to be another huge problem. I have a very un-educated hunch that a lot of disease comes from industrial environmental toxins that make their way into our body. Cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, muscular dystrophies, Autism. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those were exacerbated by things like that.

Yep…as well as radon. We can do our part. :wink:

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