Top To Bottom Super Model

An example of the perfect PVC-U recycling model is when the top floor frames in a tower block refurbishment are replaced with new windows manufactured using recycled material extracted from frames removed from the bottom floors.

A recent project carried out for Warrington Borough Council by Glazerite UK Group customer K2 Aluminium Systems, backed by Veka Recycling, provides an example of how that model can work in the real world.

The £5 million refurbishment of an eight-storey housing block in the Latchford South suburb, carried out by regeneration group Torus Group and its construction partner HMS, required all existing PVC-U windows to be replaced with brand new windows as part of the overhaul.

First generation PVC-U frames were removed from the 1960s tower block, replaced by Veka M70 fully reversible frames in anthracite grey, complemented by casement windows featuring an auto vent installed in the kitchens of each apartment within the building, all manufactured by Glazerite.

As the old frames were removed, they were placed in skips, with only the glass removed. These were then collected by Veka recycling (which had supplied the skips) and taken to its Wellingborough recycling plant, where they are reprocessed to become PVC-U pellet. The facility was regarded as one of the most advanced in Europe when it was completed at the end of 2021. The pellet is then returned by tanker to its sister company Veka PLC, where it is included in brand new profiles including Veka M70…the system used by Glazerite to produce the frames installed in the Warrington housing block.


Energy & sustainability

Warrington Borough Council was insistent that the new replacement windows would help to reduce the energy bills of its tenants and the sustainability provided by the recycling arrangements was a key element in the decision-making process for the council.

This example of the circular economy and of the true sustainability of PVC-U windows and doors, is part of a deal that sees all Glazerite’s virgin offcut material produced in its three manufacturing operations collected by Veka Recycling, to be recycled. Additionally, Veka Recycling provides skips on behalf of Glazerite customers for key projects, for the removal and reprocessing of post-consumer frames.

With Veka PLC’s Burnley extrusion facility now a large volume user of recycled pellet from its sister company, much of the material returned from Glazerite may be returned to them in the form of brand-new profiles to again be manufactured as new windows and doors.


Working in reality

Darren Rhodes, MD of Glazerite’s north-west division, whose operation has provided the replacement frames for installer K2 as well as overseeing the removal of old material by Veka Recycling, says: “There has been a great deal published about how PVC-U is a valuable material that may be recycled many times and returned as new products. But the Warrington project is the perfect example of how this can work in reality. Public sector specifiers are increasingly insistent that material removed during refurbishments is recycled. But the very real prospect that old windows can be installed again as new frames even in the same scheme, has been proved by this project.”


Picture: This Warrington housing block window replacement project provides the perfect window recycling model.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
11th April 2023


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