With the increased renovation rate expected, millions of PVC windows will be available for recycling per year. If the use of lead-containing recyclate is forbidden, these windows will go to landfills. Increased recycling rates will lead to more construction materials being integrated into the circular economy. Thus, it is vital recyclers are allowed to recycle old PVC windows for the next 15 years.
As part of EPPA’s sustainability commitment which aims at increasing the amounts of post-consumer windows recycled and rPVC-U used, the association supports or runs clearinghouse projects in three European countries: Germany (Rewindo), France (UFME/SNEP), Poland (EPPA).
Clearinghouse Project in Germany
EPPA partners with Rewindo - a recycling initiative of the German plastic profile manufacturers. Rewindo is a pioneer in efficient recycling management.
Rewindo ensures that old windows will not go to landfill/incineration by creating a collection scheme and collaborating with the recyclers.
The windows are separated into glass, metal, and other substances. Afterwards, a pure PVC granulate is obtained from the processed PVC, which is used in the manufacture of new windows building profiles.
You can read more about the collection and recycling scheme in Germany on Rewindo website.
Clearinghouse Project in France
In 2020 EPPA started the collaboration with UFME, French association of Windows and Doors.
UFME is involved in the voluntary agreement in France to increase the collection of end-of-life PVC windows. The practices were promoted through means of collection and treatment. UFME hired two dedicated part-time on-site coordinators. This had a positive impact on signing new collecting and recycling partners. At the moment there are 20 more voluntary signatories, giving a total of 52 partners.
UFME is also involved in asbestos risk management. The aim is to help the collectors and recyclers to know the products that contain the substance via giving a list of products contacting asbestos installed in the windows (glazing). Within a few weeks, UFME should have a full list ready for all the window collectors and installers.
UFME enhanced communications and promotion of best practices with regards to recycling through the new website. There is a new part of the website dedicated to Sustainability Development and PVC recycling, where various articles on that topic are published. In 2021, UFME launched on the website an interactive map of collecting centers showing signatories of UFME voluntary involvement in recycling and partners of manufacturers and recycling centers involved.
Clearinghouse Project in Poland
In April 2021 EPPA kicked off Clearinghouse Project in Poland. The aim is to install collection points in cooperation with waste disposal companies and build the infrastructure on-site. Post-consumer windows will be dismantled locally and transported to Germany. Based on the Conversio VinylPlus data, the estimated potential of old windows in the Polish market is estimated at around 50k t in 2020 and 137k t by 2030.
For that matter, EPPA hired two dedicated part-time on-site coordinators: Karol Pieta and Konrad Burzynski. The consultants identified potential providers and established a relationship with the demolition and window installation companies, PSZOK – Selective Collection of Municipal Waste Points and RIPOK - Regional Municipal Waste Processing Installation. PSZOK
Moreover, EPPA has started a partnership with the Polish Association of Windows and Doors.
EPPA will support POiD in a project Good Assembly which encourages people to exchange their windows. In September 2021, a new edition of the campaign will be launched, enriched with a socio-environmental aspect We build for generations, which aims to highlight the importance of energy-efficient solutions and their impact on minimising CO2 emissions to the environment, but also to draw attention to topics related to the recovery of raw materials in line with a closed-loop economy. EPPA, with its many years of experience, expert potential and well-established position in the field of recycling initiatives in Europe, will play the role of Technical Partner in the project.