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Sandra Gaspar: Why Eurocell Operates a Closed-Loop Recycling System

8 March 2024

As we celebrate Women in Construction Week, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Sandra Gaspar, an integral part of Eurocell's commitment to sustainability and responsible material management. 


Sandra's role as the Head of Recycling plays a crucial part in Eurocell's closed-loop recycling system. Here, Sandra explains why Eurocell operates a closed-loop recycling system and how it plays a big role in our commitment to reducing waste and maximising the life-span of PVC-U in our sector. 

 

PVC-U can be repurposed up to 10 times without compromising its quality. It’s an impressively durable and long-lasting material, and as a business and an industry we should recycle as much as we can of the PVC-U that is used in windows, doors and other home improvements to ensure it goes back into construction and not to landfill. Due to the versatility and durability of PVC-U, with an extremely long life span (20 years) and having the capacity to recycle it 10 times, it gives a PVC-U window a 200 year life span, an incredible feature of this material!

In my role at Eurocell, I’m responsible for the Production of both our recycling factories, the procurement of the infeed to supply both recycling factories, Strategy, External Sales, Waste management, and logistics for the Recycling Division. I am deeply passionate about addressing the challenges of PVC-U in landfill, a significant issue in the construction sector. I firmly believe in true circularity, advocating for a paradigm shift in product design to consider the end-of-life disassembly process (modular design) to reuse and repurpose prior to recycling, and ultimately, reduce as much waste going to landfill as possible. I’ve just finished the Business Sustainability Management course from University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to further support sustainability across all areas under my Management but also across Eurocell.

 

At Eurocell's recycling plants, we process an impressive 70,000 PVC-U window frames every week, which are then used to create new windows and PVC-U based home improvements that are manufactured, assembled and installed in homes and properties throughout the UK. In 2022, that equated to 16,700 tonnes of recycled PVC-U used by the business. 


Through our closed-loop service, we not only contribute to environmental conservation but also provide tangible benefits to our customers. The reengineering of PVC-U from old frames to create new windows, doors, and building products ensures a high-performance, more sustainable end product.


We’re proud of our products like the PVC-U Thermal Inserts and Cavalok systems which are made from 100% recycled PVC-U. 


Recycling PVC-U has been a core focus of Eurocell’s ESG strategy for some time and we are now at a key point in further developing our responsibilities and how we want to drive material management as a business and as an industry. 


PVC-U in landfill is still a massive challenge for our sector and to maximise the amount we recycle, we must consider it from the very outset of product design and how each element can be recycled, reused or repurposed. The aim is true circularity – many raw materials are in limited supply, so we must make the best possible and longer use of them. We need to do all we can to close the loop and that’s why I am really excited about the forward vision we have for our recycling operation.

 

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