DESPITE the terrible press it can get in environmental circles, plastic really is a fantastic product – when used correctly, insisted VEKA Recycling Managing Director Simon Scholes.
“There’s nothing else like it to solve the problems it solves. But we absolutely need to use it correctly, and that means recycling it. Plastic, such as the PVC in window and door frames, should never be lost!”
Simon made the comments at a press event held at the company’s 5.5 acre site in Wellingborough to mark its 15th anniversary.
The business began in Swanscombe, Kent in May 2007 before transferring to the new, £15 million site in 2018, which, now fully operational, is Europe’s most advanced PVC-U recycling facility.
“The Wellingborough plant was built from scratch to take advantage of the latest recycling techniques and we now produce the highest quality polymer for use in a range of products, including brand new window and doorframe profiles,” explained Simon.
“We have the ability to promote and deliver PVC-U windows as truly sustainable at a time when plastic generally is under close scrutiny and to make the most of what is a tremendous resource.”
A work of heart
Closing the loop on PVC recycling has been at the core of VEKA Recycling’s ethos from the very beginning, explained Simon.
“I would love to live in a world where recycled material in products was completely commonplace and unremarkable. That’s when we would know we are making real progress.
“And we are seeing that attitude start to really gain traction – slowly but surely. People are starting to see the benefits of recycled materials, environmentally as well as economically.
“The recent FIT Show provided considerable anecdotal evidence that homeowners now want to know that the PVC-U windows being removed from their homes will be dealt with sustainably. This is gathering momentum, with more retailers now proactively advising homeowners that their old windows will be recycled.”
VEKA Recycling have honed themselves to be the best on one very specific recycling stream: turning the PVC frames of windows and doors into PVC pellets. These will then be supplied to other companies (including VEKA PLC in Burnley), to be turned back into PVC frames.
“We call this a production facility because we are completely geared towards the production of a single item: the PVC pellets. That’s it.
“We are absolutely specialists here at VEKA Recycling. We are completely focussed on the production of high-quality pellets and making them as efficiently and to as high a standard as possible.”
To feed the site’s insatiable machinery, VEKA Recycling are constantly looking to buy PVC in the form of off-cuts and post-consumer frames.
“The biggest task I have is to educate waste collectors about getting the value out of their windows. It really can be very low-effort-high-reward once they know what to do,” said Simon.
“First of all, they need to keep the windows as clean and undamaged as possible. Anything that happens to the window once it has been removed from its original place will contaminate it and lower the quality, so they should be stored in such a way as to avoid this.
“Then, once they have enough to make it worth the trip, we can send out one of our contacts to come and collect them. We have a network of local companies across the nation, so we can collect from most places. Alternatively, they can simply deliver here to our site.
“The issue is that waste collectors are usually generalists whereas we are specialists. So windows might only be a tiny part of the waste that comes into their yard, and collectors might pay them little mind.
“This is a shame on many levels; firstly environmentally, obviously, since PVC which is not treated well can easily become damaged and contaminated, and then ruins the quality of it.
“But also, it makes poor business sense, as this can be a source of revenue.
“We are constantly on the look-out for reliable, trustworthy suppliers with whom we can do business.“
To find out more about Veka Recycling click HERE.
Main photo: Veka Recycling’s Wellingborough facility