Are Evolution Windows recyclable?
Not so long ago, anyone renovating their windows and doors would simply put them into a skip and send them off to landfill. However, times have changed! These days, we are all keen to reduce our carbon footprint and to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life. The drive to be green is pervading through every element of modern life, so it comes as no surprise that more people than ever before are asking whether Evolution’s PVCu windows are recyclable.
Recycling is a vital element of today’s waste reduction strategies, converting waste material into new objects. A much better option when compared to convention waste disposal, recycling saves valuable materials while lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases. Recycling also prevents potentially useful material from being wasted and reduces the amount of raw materials being consumed. As a result, air pollution, water pollution and energy usage are all greatly reduced in turn. With all of this in mind, what about PVCu windows? Can they be recycled too?
PUTTING PVCU WINDOWS IN LANDFILL
If PVCu windows are put into landfill when they have come to the end of their useful lifespan, they can cause environmental damage since they aren’t biodegradable. Luckily, however, there is an alternative.
PVCu is an excellent building material since it is made up of just two elements – oil and sand. Unlike other types of plastic, no plasticisers are used to make it flexible and this means it is lightweight, low maintenance and rigid – the perfect construction material.
The nature of PVCu means that it is also very recyclable. In fact, you can recycle PVCu ten times and even more without any impact on its material performance. PVCu window frames also have a service life of up to 40 years, so when you pair this with the fact it is recyclable around ten times with no loss of performance, it can have a useful life of as long as four centuries!
Some people believe that PVC cannot be recycled. However, this isn’t the case. PVC, just like other thermoplastic material is able to be recycled quite easily. For the last ten years, the PVCu window industry has worked hard to create new processes and controls to stop PVCu windows and doors from entering landfill. The industry now has a recycling scheme called Recovinyl which has managed to recover and recycle over 120,000 tonnes of waste in just one year.
This scheme coordinates the recycling and collection of post-consumer building products made from PVC. It is now common practice to recycle and recover off-cuts and factory wastes after the fabrication of PVCu windows and to then incorporate those materials with virgin polymer in order to make more long-life products such as window profiles. PVCu has a major advantage as a recycled material since it is low maintenance and hasn’t been contaminated with paint. As a result, this makes the recycling process simple, especially when compared with that required for stained and painted timber.
RECYCLING WINDOW GLASS
Not only can the PVCu element of your window and door frames be collected, recycled and reused in other products, the glass can also be recycled. Many recycling centres today will accept glass from PVCu windows although it cannot be combined with the glass from containers and bottles. This is because the two kinds of glass have a different melting temperature and chemical composition. Some windows are made from tempered or laminated glass, while others are tinted or coated. This means that they need to be recycled by specialist recycling companies.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t need to go into landfill. It’s possible to melt down old window glass and re-manufacture it into fibreglass, incorporate it into asphalt or even combine it into reflective paint. Some broken glass may be mixed with concrete for use in countertops and flooring while some old glass may even be used for decorative and landscaping applications.
REPLACING MY PVCU WINDOWS
If you are thinking of replacing your old PVCu windows with new home improvement products, you should certainly consider recycling them. Since both the UPVC and the glass can be used to make brand new products, it makes sense to look into your recycling options. We should all be actively working towards reducing our carbon footprint and improving our sustainability, and your windows and doors should be part of that drive for eco-friendliness too.