Alternative materials gain Trex recognition

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

Since Ron Kaplan became CEO at Trex Co. Inc. in 2008, the wood-alternative decking and railing company has done anything but rot. Formerly sold only in the U.S. and Canada, Winchester-based Trex now offers its products in 27 countries. The company employs 337 workers in Winchester and also has a facility in Fernley, Nev., 20 miles east of Reno. 

Last year, Trex’s revenue rose 15 percent to $307 million. It recorded a profit of $2.7 million after a loss of $11.6 million the year before.

Trex uses recycled plastic and wood to make its composite decking and railing, which Kaplan says can last for 25 years. “We buy used plastic and sawdust and turn it into beautiful outdoor decking that doesn’t rot … splinter, fade or stain, and, because of that, it’s very l36ow maintenance,” Kaplan says. Trex also makes other products, such as outdoor furniture, lighting fixtures and steel substructures, which are used underneath a homeowner’s deck.

Kaplan recently was named one of the Top Small Cap CEOs for 2012 by ExecRank, which ranks executives in more than 30 industries. Kaplan ranked No. 14 out of more than 18,000 small-cap CEOs in the U.S.
In addition, a reader poll conducted by Green Builder Media cited Trex decking products as the “greenest” in the industry. The Cincinnati-based media company publishes Green Builder magazine.

Trex buys as much as 300 million pounds of used plastic and an equal amount of hardwood sawdust each year. It also recycles 1.3 billion grocery bags annually.

Trex products have been used at Fort Wilderness in Walt Disney World in Florida, the Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and on boardwalks in New Jersey and Toronto. Trex products are available in 6,000 stores worldwide.

Kaplan believes the eco-friendly characteristics of his products can be a tie-breaker for customers making a choice about decking and railing. “We see a trend toward outdoor living, green manufacturing and strong brand identity,” Kaplan says. 

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