A worker fixing a uPVC windowuPVC has been a sought-after material for windows. There are no more rotting window frames, and they are said to be impenetrable by thieves, but it can have a negative impact on the environment. Many people now recognise the importance of recycling uPVC, but for a long time it was not so.

The stylish, burglar-proof, white plastic uPVC window frames seduced consumers for years with their promise of longevity and superior quality. Homeowners were assured they would never have to deal with problems like wood rot. They were also told that the material and their windows were so strong, not even the most determined intruder could get in. However, they were never told of the damp that can seep through, the premature product failure rate, or of the environmental hazards posed by uPVC.

Chlorine and uPVC

uPVC is the only type of plastic to be made with chlorine, and when chlorine builds up in your environment, any exposure to it may be a health risk. Chlorine exposure can cause hormonal disruptions, infertility, neurological diseases, immune system impairment, and birth defects.

Phthalates and uPVC

As uPVC is brittle, phthalates are added to make it suitable for manufacture. These continue to leak out of the product over time and exposure can also cause damage to the reproductive system and the development of the unborn fetus.

Dioxins, Mercury and uPVC

During manufacture, dioxins and mercury are released into the atmosphere, where they cause environmental pollution and increase the risk of cancer. Environmental mercury burdens have also been linked with lowering rates of cognition in children. Mercury emissions affect animals too and end up in the food supply. The seas are heavily polluted with mercury which is why pregnant women are advised not to eat too much fish. Despite this, uPVC recycling only occurs for about 3% of uPVC.

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Recycle uPVC

Old uPVC can be recycled to prevent pollution. This limits the need for further chemicals in the manufacture of uPVC and reduces dioxin release from landfill sites. Traditional wooden framed windows can be alternatives too.

uPVC windows may be tough against trespassers, but they’re also tough on landfills. Why not conserve the environment by making sure uPVC is recycled?