"The worlds first fully recycled PVC-U window made from post-consumer waste has been announced by window manufacturer the Epwin Group. While the commercial potential for such a product is still a few years away, the companys investment will enable it to revise the levels of recycled content in its windows as the replacement market grows. A spokesman for the group told MRW: At the moment there isnt enough first generation window material coming out of demolition to make fully recycled windows. But this is a future product to demonstrate that it can be done and that PVC-U is sustainable.
Such developments if combined with local authority targets to recycle a set percentage of windows from demolition sites, could further boost growth in the PVC-U recovery market.
Plastics recycler Dekura, a member of Recovinyl, processes first generation PVC-U windows for the Epwin Group at its sites across the UK. A range of building products can be dealt with at its centres, which remove all traces of rubber, metal and glass to create a near virgin quality material.
Epwin Group technical director David Wrigley explained: Having started out with something pretty basic, relying largely on time consuming manual processing, today we have a sophisticated and technically advanced processing system giving the group the unique capacity to recycle not just factory off-cuts but old first generation PVC-U products that have reached the end of their natural lifecycle.
What is much more challenging is how you clean and process this material to remove building debris prior to reprocessing.
PVC-U is hugely recyclable, research suggests it can be recycled up to 10 times without losing performance based on a BRE recognised life span of 35 to 40 years and each product could have an overall life cycle of up to 400 years.
The window will be on show at Eco-build from February 26 to 28 2008.
Image: Green trolley: The start of the recycling process - Dekuras post-consumer waste trolley can be left on site and filled with old PVC-U products as they are removed from properties.