A sustainable future

As the people who construct and use our buildings are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of their actions, the window industry needs to supply energy efficient products that can be sustainably manufactured, as Richard Hardstaff at Rehau’s subsidiary recycling company PVCR discusses.

Contrary to long-held assumptions, and thanks to advances in recycling and product innovation, PVCU windows are now widely recognised as a sustainable option for the construction industry. A little-known fact about PVC is that its thermoplastic nature makes it capable of being recycled several times over before recording any significant loss of performance, resulting in sustainable, energy-efficient windows.

Rehau’s response to this drive towards a more sustainable living is the development of its PVC recycling operation at PVCR. With its recent investment in new facilities for PVCR in Runcorn, Rehau has enabled the reuse of polymer window profiles that might otherwise have been placed into landfill. This has been designed to ensure fabricators and installers have access to a convenient, profitable, and socially responsible way to manage waste and protect the environment.

PVCR is a major part of Rehau’s companywide response to some of the biggest economic, ecological, and social challenges of our time. By using PVCR to recycle old PVCU windows and doors, businesses can not only manage their waste effectively, but can also minimise disposal costs – all while reducing their impact on landfill and feeding recycled material back into the supply chain.

Furthermore, rather than paying a third-party recycling specialist to handle any wasted PVC, PVCR is a subsidiary of Rehau UK, meaning that closer links can be forged between PVCR and its manufacturing processes. Once old PVC windows and doors have been sorted, cleaned, and shredded, the product is then fed directly into Rehau’s own co-extrusion process to produce new, recycled windows and doors.

Co-extrusion is an innovative and sustainable method that uses recycled material to produce top-quality window profiles. This enables different PVC materials to be processed on the core of the profile and the outer skin, all while reusing valuable secondary raw materials to protect the environment. Rehau-manufactured products use these co-extrusion methods to not only fulfil all the demands met by conventional window profiles, but also to enable customers, and their customers, to play a role in protecting the environment, without paying more.

Rehau’s Total70C system is available with a co-extruded profile made up of 75% post-consumer waste. The window profile is manufactured at our north Wales extrusion plant using recyclate from the PVCR subsidiary, and still offers the equivalent in not only appearance, but in performance, reaching the same quality assurance levels as its mono-extrusion counterpart.

In performance, Total70C co-extruded window systems boast severe weather performance credentials and unparalleled technical, thermal, and noise reduction efficiency. This efficiency, combined with its eco-conscious manufacturing, makes Total70C a standout product as far as sustainability is concerned.

Looking forward, the drive for a more environmentally secure industry can be recognised in Rehau’s strategic sustainability plan. By 2020 Rehau aims to double its recycling output, and this investment will mean it is able to supply 100% of the recycled PVC required to support its co-extrusion production at its UK-based window production plants.

Such ambitions show that, as a manufacturer, Rehau is determined to continue to develop new, energy-efficient innovative technology that ensures sustainable growth is at the forefront of the PVC industry.