Eurocell has now proven that significant carbon savings can be achieved from the reuse of post-industrial and post-consumer waste to create new PVC-U solutions
Estimates to establish lifecycle impact of using recycled PVC-U window frames independently verified by Manchester Metropolitan University
Eurocell’s recycling strategy delivered saving of over 25,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021
A research whitepaper has supported the positive environmental impact of using recycled waste materials for the manufacture and fabrication of new PVC-U windows and doors.
Existing data sets and modelling have been verified by Manchester Metropolitan University, with the findings set out in The Environmental Impact of Using Post-Consumer PVC-U Waste to Create Today’s Windows and Doors.
The paper estimates the lifecycle environmental impact of creating new recycled PVC-U from post-industrial and post-consumer window frame waste. The waste comprises of both off-cuts and rejects from the manufacturing process (post-industrial), as well as old frames recovered at their end of their life and destined for landfill (post-consumer). It is also worth considering the impact of BREEAM credits arising from putting steel and aluminium used as reinforcement, back into the circulation.
The study uncovered three key facts:
- Significant sustainability savings can be achieved by using recycled waste materials in unseen areas instead of virgin PVC-U on newly fabricated window frames and doors.
- Recycling post-consumer waste leads to higher carbon savings thanks to the credits for metals recycling.
- Using one tonne of post-consumer PVC-U as part of recycling efforts within a PVC-U manufacturing operation will save 2.056 tonne CO2 equivalent against the use of virgin PVC-U, equivalent to approximately two months’ worth of carbon emissions from the average person in the UK.*
Mark Kelly CEO for Eurocell, comments: “Eurocell is an industry leader producing enough window and door extruded profiles to fabricate over 2.2 million windows and doors annually to meet the demand for high performing, aesthetically pleasing solutions. These design solutions are all focused around recycle content where British Standards allow.
“Like all responsible businesses we have to ensure that our operations are sustainable for the long term and transparent as climate concerns continue to grow. That is why we set out, with the help of Manchester Metropolitan University, to better understand the impact of our processes, especially around carbon emissions.”
Eurocell operates two recycling plants across the UK. Each site transforms waste PVC that would otherwise be discarded to landfill into recycled pellet. This is then extruded using dual material extrusion technology back into its popular new windows and door systems. Based upon the study’s conclusions, which have been independently assessed and validated by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University, it is calculated that 12,000 plus tonnes of post-consumer waste extruded by the company in 2020 led directly to a saving of over 25,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent by replacing virgin PVC-U with recycled post-consumer PVC-U.
Mark continues: “The study’s conclusions clearly show the positive impact our strategic decision to use waste PVC-U to drive our recycling operations is having. Not only have we significantly cut the carbon emissions that result from our manufacturing processes, the use of recycled materials in our windows and doors enables housebuilders and consumers to make more informed and better environmental choices.
“For instance, housebuilders constructing 2,500 units will save around 627 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by specifying Eurocell windows and cavity closures with recycled content over full virgin PVC-U windows.
“It is vital that businesses play their part in helping to reverse the current climate emergency. We are now able to provide our customers, housebuilders, and homeowners with an accurate and verified carbon saving statistic associated with the reuse of waste materials in our manufacturing operations. This means they can specify and buy with confidence and know their choices are environmentally positive.”
Copies of The Environmental Impact of Using Post-Consumer PVC-U Waste to Create Today’s Windows and Doors are available by visiting: https://www.eurocell.co.uk/pvc-u-trade/resource-hub/whitepapers