Monday, May 31, 2021

Product Highlight: Center-Pole Fiberglass Umbrellas

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The Case for Fiberglass 

The sustainability of fiberglass starts with its main ingredient which is glass.  Glass is made with silica from sand, an abundant, natural, non-depleting resource, making fiberglass a highly sustainable solution. Due to this composition, fiberglass is known for its very low embodied energy ─ the total energy required to produce a product from the raw materials stage through delivery of fiberglass products. Typically, fiberglass requires no added materials to reinforce it, thereby reducing the bulk and weight the product, helping cut transportation costs in the process. 

Fiberglass too, is designed, tested and built to last for decades. It can last 50 to 80 years, which essentially is a lifetime. As fiberglass products have extremely long life cycles, it means that there is less waste heading to landfills in the short term to medium term.  

Can fiberglass pultrusion be recycled? The short answer is yes.  Fiberglass recycling is a two-stage grinding process that results in a fine by-product that can be utilized as a filler in common building components such as concrete and asphalt or as a filler in a fiberglass pultruder’s own resin matrix as well. 

Furthermore, because fiberglass is a thermally-set, inert and petroleum-free material, it will not emit any volatile organic compounds over its entire lifespan, and even if placed in landfill, it will not leech chemicals into the ground or waterways. 


Fiberglass vs Wood Umbrellas 

Fiberglass cannot be compromised as easily as wood—it holds its shape perfectly. This is fairly significant considering that if wood is not properly treated, is susceptible to water, UV radiation, and weathering. Frames can warp and decay over time. This can lead to a multitude of problems, including structural integrity issues, which ultimately leads to more costs, not less. 

Although fiberglass is considered a relatively new material in umbrella frames, it has been used in other products for many years. One industry that has adopted fiberglass composites over wood much earlier is the marine industry. It is easy to find real life examples of fiberglass boats that remain seaworthy after 50 years and beyond with little to no degradation while being exposed to the corrosive marine environment. Fiberglass is a stable, inert material that is impervious to time, temperature and corrosive agents. Its use in the boating industry highlights its exceptional benefits in coastal applications. 

The current price points of fiberglass umbrellas may find some resistance despite its recognized benefits. At Suniture, we help businesses transition to fiberglass by offering our fiberglass collection at the same price point of the traditional hardwood ones.  Our Fiji Round Umbrellas as well as Finey Square Umbrellas are all made of fiberglass. Contact us through for more information.


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