Last week, the 25th UN Climate Change Conference began with the motto "TimeForAction". REHAU has been taking this call to action seriously for many years and manufactures its window profiles from old recycled PVC window material in a closed material cycle. This conserves natural resources and reduces CO2 emissions.
The term circular economy is currently on everyone's lips. REHAU identified this global mega-trend years ago and therefore acts in such a way to benefit future generations.In the REHAU Window Solutions Division, all production and procurement processes have consistently been optimized for sustainability, making this business division a pioneer in the industry. However, this success is not short-lived, because REHAU has been ensuring the recycling of old profile sections and their return to production since 1988. Since 2014, the percentage of profiles produced with recycled material has gradually risen from 25% to over 40% and will even increase to 50% next year.
Collecting and processing
In order to ensure the effective recovery of used materials, the entire recycling process within the 27 member states of the EU (EU 27) has been in the hands of the company itself since 2015. To this end, a large, Europe-wide network has been set up to collect used material. From there, it is funneled into production via internal and external processing plants. Since the profiles are extruded from recyclable PVC material, a profile can pass through this cycle seven times. In total, 70,000 tons of PVC are recycled each year, approximately the same weight as the 345 metre-long cruise ship Queen Mary II, and is sufficient to cover REHAU's entire need for recycled material.
Technologies and production
As part of its efforts to close the material cycle, REHAU has invested some 65 million euros in in-house and external recycling facilities and technologies over the past few years. The two recycling companies DEKURA and PVCR , for example, which belong to the REHAU Group, together with the Polish plant in Srem, are responsible for closing the cycle and processing the recyclable PVC for the production of new window profiles. The new profiles are then co-extruded from a mix of this recyclate and new material in Wittmund, Srem, Blaenau and Morhange, with the recyclate content on the inside paired with the REHAU HDF surface.
Conclusion, figures and awards
To date, REHAU has optimized the recycling process at all four European locations to the extent that they have been awarded the renowned VinylPlus product label. REHAU is the first and so far only window manufacturer to receive this certificate at all European locations. The company was also recently awarded the "Excellent Sustainability" certificate by the FAZ Institute in the category "Companies in the polymer industry". This year, the study examined the sustainability of Germany's largest companies from around 200 industries in their ecological, social and economic activities as part of a broad-based social listing.
The sustainable window profiles marketed under the new REHAU EcoPuls label save large quantities of CO2 in production compared to conventional profiles, since around 90% fewer emissions are released during the production of recycled material. In total, 97,000 tons of CO2 can be saved annually, approximately the same amount that a forest with 7,800,000 trees or a state the size of Berlin could In addition, EcoPuls windows are highly energy-efficient and help to keep energy losses low. REHAU customers can be assured that they are making a sustainable choice with their window products, and are contributing to relieving the burden on our environment.