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UK leader

Eurocell Recycle, is the largest UK-based recycler of PVC-U window and door profiles (by tonnes processed).

Accreditation

We are a member of VinylPlus, Recovinyl, British Plastics Federation (BPF) and Operation Clean Sweep - an industry-wide voluntary commitment to develop more ecologically responsible ways to produce, use and recycle PVC.

Our footprint

Since 2016, we have reduced total emissions by c.28%, along with a steady downward trend in emissions intensity. Consumption has dropped through energy efficiency programmes, whilst revenues have generally been increasing (source: Eurocell Greenhouse Gas Report, Inenco Group, February 2022).

Recognition

We have been proud winners of:

  • the Future Manufacturing Awards - Sustainability 2018.
  • the MRW Recycling Awards - Manufacturer of the Year 2018.
  • the National Fenestration Awards 2020 - Recycling Company of  the Year.

Minimising our environmental impact

We are committed to protecting and minimising our impact on the environment.plus

Our policy is as follows:

  • We recognise that our operations result in emissions and waste and we are committed to control, recover, and reuse PVC waste wherever possible. We operate in compliance with all relevant environmental legislation, and strive to use pollution prevention and environmental best practice in all that we do. The Company experienced no reportable environmental incidents during 2022.
  • We promote the efficient use of all materials and resources throughout our facilities, particularly non-renewable resources, and continue our development of sustainably sourced products using recycled materials wherever possible.
  • Environmental concerns and impacts are a consideration in all our decision making and activities. We promote environmental awareness amongst our employees and encourage them to work in an environmentally responsible manner. This is achieved through training and education, informing our employees about environmental issues that may affect their work.
  • Emergency response procedures are maintained where required by legislation or where significant health, safety or environmental hazards exist.
  • Our general environmental objectives are set in alignment with legislation and are continually reviewed to ensure they are being met. Our environmental policies apply to all our operations, and we make sure sufficient resources are made available to ensure that they are implemented. We strive to continually improve our environmental performance and review our policies regularly in the light of planned future activities.

In the following paragraphs we have described the key aspects of our environmental performance, including the recycling operation and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use plus

We report our greenhouse gas (‘GHG’) emissions and energy use as part of our Strategic Report and our reporting period is 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022, with comparatives for the corresponding period in the previous year. Reliable reporting of GHG emissions and energy use on a calendar year basis is not possible due to difficulties in collating actual data for the final months of the year due to timing lags on supplier invoicing. All our emissions and energy use relate to UK operations apart from negligible amounts which relate to our two branches in the Republic of Ireland.

Our target is to deliver a 5% reduction in both the energy use intensity ratio and emissions intensity ratio by 2025, compared to the 2020 baseline. Thereafter, these targets will be re-based to ensure they are aligned to our ongoing long-term emissions reduction objectives, which we expect to develop over time.

GHG emissions for the Group for the period ending 30 September 2022 in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), using location based reporting are as follows:

Source 2022 20211 Change vs 2021
Fuel Combustion (stationary) 820 337 143%
Fuel Combustion (mobile) 6,603 5,734 15%
Refrigerant gases 33 42 (21)%
Purchased electricity  11,537 12,214 (6)%
Total 18,993 18,327 4%

1 2021 numbers have been restated to take into account increased data availability.

For 2022, we reported sales growth of 12% and a slight reduction in production volumes. A small increase in total emissions for the year of 4% reflects an increased return to office/site working practices, with much of the 2021 comparative reflecting remote working.

Annual comparison and emissions intensity:

tCO2e 2022 20212 Change vs 2021
Total emissions 18,993 18,327 4%
Emission intensity1 49 53 (8)%

1 Expressed in tCO2e per £m revenue.

2 2021 numbers have been restated to take into account increased data availability.

This information was collected, calculated and reported in line with the methodology set out in  the UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines, 2019 (PB 13944). Emissions have been calculated using the 2022 conversion factors provided by Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Electricity consumption (61% of 2022 energy use)plus

We continue to encourage behavioural changes to reduce consumption levels, to be less wasteful and drive operational efficiencies, including reducing idle time and optimising temperatures on extrusion lines and chillers. In addition, during the year, we have also reviewed machine start-ups, standby and shut-down processes, the usage of compressed air and the Company’s lighting policy, all of which have had a positive impact on our electricity usage.

Recycling Operations

Recycling sits at the very heart of our operations, and we are proud to be the leading UK-based recycler of PVC windows.

"Our well-developed channels for recovery and recycling allow old frames to be recycled and reprocessed into new products up to  ten times without any loss  of quality.”

What we doplus

Our recycling process essentially turns old window profiles into new window profiles. We recycle both customer factory offcuts (postindustrial waste) and old windows that have been replaced with new (post-consumer waste) to produce recycled material in the form of pellets, micronised and granulate material which are then used to generate brand new extruded products.

We have two recycling plants, located in Ilkeston (Eurocell Recycle Midlands) and Selby (Eurocell Recycle North).

Both sites operate under Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (‘IPPC’) permit conditions, and both successfully retained their permitted status. The environmental management systems and manuals forming the basis of our ISO 14001 accreditations continue to evolve, with particular progress being made at Eurocell Recycle North. All accreditations were successfully maintained in 2022.

How much we recycleplus

During the year, our two sites recycled 37.9k tonnes (equivalent to more than three million window frames) of post-consumer waste, which would have otherwise been sent to landfill, and 8.5k tonnes of post-industrial waste. Total waste collected of 46.4k tonnes represents a small reduction from 2021 (48.2k tonnes), reflecting slightly lower primary extrusion production volumes.

Together the two sites used this waste to produce 27.4k tonnes of recycled material (2021: 28.5k tonnes), at a similar percentage yield to 2021. It should be noted that very little of the resulting by-product goes to landfill, with a significant proportion representing scrap metal, which is sold.

Of the recycled material produced, 16.7k tonnes (generated predominately from post-consumer waste) was used alongside virgin resin in the manufacture of many of our PVC rigid profiles, representing 29% of total raw material consumption, up from 27% in 2021.

The remaining 10.7k tonnes of recycled material produced is used either in products which are manufactured from 100% recycled material, including thermal inserts and cavity closer systems (which are almost exclusively derived from post-industrial waste), or sold to a range of trade extruders.

We estimate that, in total, our recycling operation saved approximately 47k tonnes of carbon in 2022 (2021: 48k tonnes), also compared to the use of virgin PVC, and prevented the equivalent of over three million window frames from landfill.

Our 2022 performance is in line with our target to increase the percentage of recycled material used in production by at least 1% per annum. A reduction in the amount of carbon saved reflects slightly lower production volumes in 2022.

k tonnes 2022 2021 Change Change %
Inputs - waste recycled        
Post-consumer 37.9 40.5 (2.6) (6)%
Post-industrial 8.5 7.7 0.8 10%
  46.4 48.2 (1.8) (4)%
Output - recycled material produced 27.4 28.5 (1.1) (4)%
Yield % 59% 59% -%  
Usage
Primary extrusion
16.7 16.8 (0.1) (1)%
Products made from 100% recycled material 6.1 7.3 (1.2) (16)%
Sales to trade extruders 4.1 4.3 (0.2) (5)%
  26.9 28.4 (1.5) (5)%
Primary extrusion usage as % of total consumption 29% 27%  2%  

How much we investplus

Between 2016 and 2022, we invested c.£12 million to expand capacity at our two recycling plants to become the leading UKbased recycler of PVC windows, along with the associated economic benefits.

 

How we recycle

Our Eurocell Recycle 9-step factory process:

Extrude finished products

The loop is closed as we manufacture the PVC-U into new products, frequently to higher specification than those being recycled. Such ‘upcycling’ is key to being a sustainable part of the Circular Economy.

Bulk transportation

A proportion of the recycled material is used onsite, whilst the rest is transported in tankers to our main extrusion facility, minimising our carbon footprint.

Pelletisation / Pulverisation

The PVC-U granules are processed into finished material ready for extrusion.

Washing

Using a series of water tanks, contaminants are ‘floated’ out.

Colour sorting

An advanced process utilising high speed cameras, ultra-violet light and jets of air filters out the granules of rubber leaving only clean, colour sorted PVC-U. 

Granulation

The waste is granulated into uniform size. At this stage rubber gaskets are still present.

Separation

Using magnetic processes, metals are separated from the rest of the waste and recycled separately.

Shredding

Waste is shredded into processable pieces.

Waste collection

Waste is taken from  3 sources:

  • Post-consumer windows
  • Fabricator off-cuts
  • Bar length

Benefits of Eurocell recycling

Sustainabilityplus

The use of recycled material enhances product stability and lowers significantly the carbon footprint of our manufactured products.

Reducing waste to landfillplus

By recycling old windows (‘post-consumer’) we reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Protecting our marginplus

The use of recycled material in the manufacture of PVC rigid products provides a substantial saving in cost compared to virgin resin compound. We also aim to increase our use of recycled material in order to maintain gross margin as our sales grow.

Mitigating pricing pressuresplus

Increasing the use of recycled material in our manufactured products helps to mitigate raw material price increases and to reduce our exposure to volatile commodity prices.