uPVC Windows and the Environment
uPVC - A Sustainable Material
Duraflex and the environment
The issue of environmental change is one that affects us all, from global warming to conservation to energy consumption, and the ways in which we can help to lessen the impact are endless.
As a manufacturer, Duraflex seeks excellence in every aspect of business and, being conscious of the world we live in, we seek to set the same standards in our commitment to the environment. We accept our responsibilities and recognise our obligation to reduce our impact on the environment.
By minimising the impact of our activities, Duraflex can help to develop a process which constantly evolves with the changes in our world.
Duraflex commitment to: Recycling
From our drive to be more environmentally friendly and reduce scrap, Duraflex have introduced a number of initiatives to reduce the amount of waste created during the extrusion process.
The majority of scrap produced is recycled in-house with very little (less than 1%) non-recoverable scrap being sent off-site for recycling in other non critical applications (pipes, conduit, furniture etc).
The installation of technical resources has made a significant improvement to the amount of scrap sent off-site for recycling. By removal of the co-extruded gasket from a profile section, the remainder of the section can be re-processed internally.
Duraflex commitment to: Sustainability
There are processes a company can implement to help the environment, but these are of little use without proof or the results or without independent monitoring.
Duraflex took the decision to submit their ‘continuous improvement’ processes under the ISO 14001 Environment Management System. ISO 14001 requires a company to work within a stringent framework of procedures and processes which ultimately have a positive effect on both the company in question and the environment as a whole.
Duraflex successfully obtained registration to ISO 14001 during 2007 by identifying and acting upon aspects within the business that did (or could) affect the environment. They then formulated plans to eradicate or at least reduce any future impact.
The system is independently monitored every six months by BSI with new suggestions and processes being implemented continually.
Two of the initiatives of Vinyl 2010 were the total elimination of Cadmium from PVC formulations and phasing out the use of lead based stabilisers. This latter requirement was to take place before 2015 with staged reductions being achieved by 2005 and 2010.
Duraflex, as with other major systems suppliers, had already removed all traces of Cadmium by the time of signing the Voluntary Commitment; it was therefore tasked with progressing the removal of lead based stabilisers from its formulation and replacing it with a more environmentally friendly Calcium Organic product.
Extensive trials have been carried out over the past few years resulting in Duraflex making the switch to the alternative during 2008,well ahead of the scheduled deadline and with no impact on its current Kitemark and accreditation status.
Eco Friendly Lamination
Duraflex, as with all other companies laminating a woodgrain or colour finish onto their profile, used primers containing hazardous solvents until very recently. However, changes in European Legislation required these to be removed.During the latter part of 2006 and into 2007 Duraflex carried out a number of trials to ensure compliance with the new regulations and a smooth uninterrupted transition to a new eco-friendly primer system.
Approximately £¼ million investment on new machines was required to facilitate this change which resulted in Duraflex changing to the new system in October 2007.