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Earth Day 2019: how are we improving our environmental impact?

24th April 2019

For many of us, Easter Monday was spent stuffing our faces with chocolate and enjoying a day off in the sunshine. It was also an important day for another reason though, as it marked Earth Day 2019.

Back in 1970, when smog as a result of air pollution was becoming a real issue, millions of people took to the streets in protest on the 22nd of April. Earth Day now takes place on that date every year with an estimated 1 billion people in 192 countries taking part. Across the globe, people celebrated Earth Day this year by joining marches, signing petitions, planting trees and helping to clean up their towns and roads.

Earth Day Network, the organisation which leads Earth Day worldwide, has built a campaign to end plastic pollution and a key theme of the day was educating the public and emphasising the importance of recycling in order to reduce pollution. As the UK’s leading manufacturer, distributor and recycler of PVC-U windows and doors, the reduction of plastic pollution is a vital issue for us and we’re 100% committed to improving the overall sustainability of our industry.

One of the biggest issues when it comes to plastic pollution in the fenestration industry comes as a result of the misconception that PVC-U cannot be recycled. This means that many of the millions of PVC-U windows replaced each year are discarded and find their way to landfill. PVC-U can, in fact, be recycled and actually gets stronger by up to 6% for the first few times it’s re-processed, meaning it can be used to manufacture products of equal quality. On top of this, every PVC-U product can go through the recycling process up to ten times, so the lifespan of a PVC-U window frame can actually be extended from 35 years to 350.

Through our continued sustainability efforts, we’ve proven that it is possible to prevent a substantial number of PVC-U frames from ending up in landfill by recycling more than 1.2million frames at our dedicated recycling facilities. As a result, we’ve stopped 61,500 tonnes of end-of-life PVC-U ending-up in landfill over 10 years. As part of our commitment to ensuring as many frames are recycled as possible, we also operate a free drop off service, where installers can return end-of-life PVC-U frames.

Whilst very little of the plastic in our oceans comes from replacement doors and windows, the aim for the industry must be to ensure as much PVC-U is recycled as possible. Around 5.6 million PVC-U frames are replaced every year, so by making a simple change and committing to recycling as many PVC-U windows as possible, we can significantly reduce the negative impact our sector is having on the planet.

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