End-of-life recovery plans

Against the backdrop of PVC building materials’ reliance on plastic-based components for successful manufacture, Swish has chosen to champion more sustainable production routes, with the implementation of ‘end-of-life recovery systems’ for all its PVC products.

In a move designed to reduce landfill and ensure an increasingly sustainable future for the industry, Swish Building Products actively operates an ethos that supports better management of used PVC materials and enables successful repurposing, the company said.

“Formulated correctly, PVC products can be recycled many times over, as the recycling method required does not measurably damage the chain length of the PVC molecules,” Alan Tunnicliffe, process improvement manager from Swish Building Products, said.

“The process can prove extremely successful and can enable pre-used products to be repurposed several times.”

Since 2010, Swish has been enhancing its PVC end-of-life recovery system and has worked to realise its sustainable goal using ethics and guidelines proposed by VinylPlus, a scheme that recycled 740,000 tonnes of PVC materials in 2018 and subsequently aims to recover over 100,000,000 tonnes every year moving forward.

“We wholeheartedly support the VinylPlus commitment to sustainably developing Europe’s PVC industry as it improves the material’s viable performance and enables longer lasting usage in the first instance; before going on to be recycled multiple times,” Alan said.

PVC can be re-shaped into a variety of new products. Supporting the concept, Swish achieves its material repurpose process by granulating and pulverising pre-used items to create a fine powder, which is then fed into an extruder, melted, and successfully reformed. Typically, the company recycles its post-consumer PVC windows to create rainwater products, including gutters and downpipes.

“By pitching our products’ manufacturing quality at the higher end, our reformed building materials are not only superior and built to last longer, but offer greater onward recycling potential, time and again,” Alan said.

“We’ve every intention of continuing our recycling processes. However, we also believe that within the sector as a whole, more in terms of repurposing pre-used materials can be done.

“Although we’re still at the research stage, we’re now extending our sustainability remit to explore end-of-life recovery for foam profiles.”