Last week, the energy-efficient renovation of 368 flats in the Waldstraße neighbourhood in the German city of Norderstedt near Hamburg was given the go-ahead. One of the essential aspects of the renovation concept is the thermal insulation of the building envelope. This will involve replacing 2500 old PVC windows with new energy-saving windows made of plastic in a total of seven blocks of flats by 2015. The windows removed from the buildings will subsequently be mechanically recycled. „This is the largest ever quantity of windows to be recycled in Europe as part of an individual renovation project in the field of housing construction“, explained Michael Vetter, the Managing Director of Rewindo Window Recycling Service, on the occasion of a construction site visit. The event was organized by Rewindo and the European PVC Window Profile and Related Building Products Association (EPPA).

The scrap PVC windows will now be collected in special containers and then shredded and reduced to pieces of a manageable size by the Rewindo recycling partner and AGPU member VEKA at its recycling plant. These window pieces will then be precisely separated into the material types of metal, rubber and glass. The plastic remaining after this separation process will be heated and pressed through a melt filter in order to remove any last foreign particles from the material. At the end of the recycling process, the virtually completely pure PVC regrind material will be supplied to manufacturers of plastic window profiles, which will use it as a source material for the production of recycled profiles. These profiles are made of a core of recycled material covered by virgin PVC. Experiments have proven that this process can be repeated up to at least seven times. When used in products with a life cycle of between 30 to 50 years, the material could therefore continue to ‚live‘ for several hundreds of years.

A detailed documentation including a video report will soon published by EPPA.

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