If there is one thing that’s more heavily debated and contested within the windows industry, it’s whether uPVC is actually good for the environment or bad. Despite its popularity as an easy, cost-effective solution to windows and doors and the fact it can be recycled, there have been growing concerns and several different reports that suggest otherwise.
There are a lot of harmful chemicals used in the creation of uPVC that are released when it’s disposed of. In the following post we will discuss some of the major concerns related to disposing of this material and why it might be better to have timber sash windows, even if they eventually must be replaced.
There are three ways PVC is disposed of:
- Fire and incineration
Fire and Incineration – This is one of the methods that draws much of the criticism PVC faces. One common way to break down PVC products, like windows is through incineration. However, the same problem exists if the windows are accidentally burnt. Substances that are potentially hazardous are released into the atmosphere in either situation. Whereas fires are dangerous regardless, a fire in a home with PVC windows carries greater risks to the health of any trapped through the inhalation of those chemicals than if it was timber-built windows.
Recycling – Recycling is a great way to dispose of PVC while reducing any negative impact on the environment. However, there are concerns that in order to get the PVC from the windows, that itself causes the release of harmful toxins.
Landfill – Unfortunately, most of the used and broken PVC produced in the UK is sent on to landfill. In fact, there’s around 380,000-tonnes of PVC dealt with in this way every single year, constituting a serious risk to the environment. The concerns about dumping PVC in this way is the metal—based stabilisers and plasticisers found in the material are released into the environment.
How Timber Compares, Why Timber Is Better
Compare the above to timber, and we really don’t think there’s any contest. Timber is known for its strength and durability when it’s in use. Timber windows have more character and standout more than PVC windows. Even though timber requires a little more time, love and effort to keep it in good condition, it will still last a long time and has an inherent warmth that makes it great for insulation purposes.
Timber is Sustainable, Renewable and Recyclable
The biggest thing that makes this material a better option than uPVC and PVC is the fact that timber, when it’s time, is not only highly renewable and sustainable, but also incredibly recyclable. Recycling is important for the conservation of the environment. There are no harmful substances or toxic chemicals released into the environment when recycling timber and it is a lot easier to work with than PVC