An informal delegation of executives and a board director of the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) visited the Wellingborough, Northamptonshire site of VEKA Recycling Ltd recently, as guests of the firm.
GGF Board Director and Vice President Natalie Little, Anda Gregory, GGF Chief Development Officer and Diana Blair, GGF Regional Membership Manager, toured the facility, which is hailed as the most advanced of its type in Europe. The trio, accompanied by Chris Dummer, who with Natalie runs Gloucestershire retail installer truhouse.™ learned how whole end-of-life frames, irrespective of original system supplier, are collected from across the UK and then craned onto conveyors for processing. With only glass removed beforehand, a series of crushers, air jets, sieves and other techniques converts the frames back to their core materials, including high grade PVC-U pellet.
“We are a VEKA installer and having visited our supplying fabricator recently I learned that VEKA Recycling collects their old frames and virgin offcuts for reprocessing,” explained Natalie Little. “An increasing number of our retail customers are expressing an interest in what happens to the frames that we remove from their homes and I was therefore intrigued to witness the process for myself. Having now witnessed this incredible technology and learned about the passion that VEKA has for preventing PVC-U from being wasted, we will now promote this with confidence to our customers,” said Natalie. “I also intend to champion recycling in my roles with the GGF; it is incredibly important that we act together as an industry to promote the sustainability of PVC-U as a frame material.”
Anda Gregory was instrumental in introducing a frame recycling service for FENSA and GGF members. Under the scheme, frames are collected free of charge from members, then delivered to recyclers including VEKA Recycling, for processing: “Having overseen the introduction of this increasingly popular member service, I was keen to see for myself what happens to the frames,” said Anda. “Whilst FENSA Recycling is a service for Approved Installers, as the representative organisation for the broader glass and glazing industries, it is the responsibility of the GGF to promote sustainability. And frame recycling, including PVC-U and aluminium, is high on our agenda currently. Seeing this fascinating process for myself has motivated me to work even harder to drive our initiatives forward.”
VEKA Recycling’s Simon Scholes, who has overseen the location and development of the site, says he and his team were excited to show off their flagship: “We have lived and breathed the Wellingborough site for four years now so of course, we are delighted to have visitors and especially those that share our passion for promoting PVC-U as a ‘good’ plastic.”
VEKA Recycling’s Wellingborough plant was built by VEKA engineers who have been honing the process of recycling end of life PVC-U frames since the company’s first plant was established in Germany in 1993. The UK facility was completed at the end of 2020 and the result of a commitment by the parent company to provide a recycling operation that was self-contained within the UK. It is capable of supplying 35,000 tonnes of the highest quality recycled PVC-U for re-manufacture into a range of new products, increasingly including window profiles.
The processes by which old windows and virgin offcut profiles are returned for re-manufacture at the VEKA Recycling plant, can be seen in a two minute video on the company’s website: https://veka-recycling.co.uk