The Past, Present And Future Of Vinyl Siding Recycling

Although cardboard, gypsum board and wood account for 75% of the waste found on job sites, recycled vinyl siding remains a vital part of the waste management plan for both demolition and construction projects. Throughout the years, efforts to find a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way of managing this waste have been fraught with challenge. Identifying and overcoming these challenges has proven key for making optimal use of PVC waste and preventing the unnecessary addition of reusable base materials to local landfills.

Vinyl Siding Recycling Then And Now

In general, vinyl siding recycling has been and continues to be pretty straightforward: cut-off waste is stuffed by siding installers into the same cardboard boxers that once contained the new siding. This is then hauled to the siding supplier where the cut-offs are stored in a single container and cardboard is housed separately. When 40,000 pounds of vinyl siding is accumulated, plastic brokers will begin negotiating prices. It is important to note that these negotiations do not usually begin until a sufficient amount of siding has been collected.

Creating New Products

Due to the fact that PVC is a thermoplastic, this can be easily ground up, melted and extruded or formed into new PVC products. Thus, the issues in recycling PVC materials have little to do with how these will be repurposed. There are instead, a number of challenges that vinyl siding recycling companies face in terms of limiting product contamination and acquiring sufficient materials for justifying these efforts. With cut-off waste from new construction, getting adequate materials is one of the biggest issues as it will take a number of cut-off jobs to create as much as 40,000 pounds of recycling material. Contamination is a greater issue with tear-off vinyl siding given that nails, dirt and even remnants of aluminum flash are likely to be present. Moreover, each of these contaminants create individual challenges for the recycling company.

Current Issues In Vinyl Siding Recycling

A lot of companies that recycle plastic are willing to accept PVC products, even though consumer-based plastics are often their primary focus. Some of the more common consumer -based plastics include HDPE (Number 2 high-density polyethylene) and PETE (Number 1 polyethylene terephthalate).
Even though there are plastic recycling companies that accept PVC all throughout the nation, it usually takes a bit of extra effort and coordination when it comes to demolition and construction PVC waste in order to resolve problems pertaining to quantity and the potential for contamination.

Is Vinyl Siding Environmentally-Friendly?

There are a number of opinions concerning the issue of whether or not vinyl siding is green. Ultimately, this is largely dependent upon individual stances on several environmental attributes. These include the toxic constituents of vinyl siding and the many in-depth human health studies that have been performed. There are certainly good arguments both for and against this idea. What is known for certain, however, is that vinyl siding recycling can significantly limit the amount of construction and demolition waste that is added to landfills.

Continued Efforts In Vinyl Siding Recycling