Although the Global PVC-U resin shortages have delivered a blow to extruders, being backed into a procurement corner has compelled buyers to look at alternative supply routes they would otherwise have ignored, or perhaps put on the back burner. One is the use of compounds produced from post-consumer material, including old window and door frames which, whilst used successfully by a number of respected extruders, is still regarded with caution by many buyers.
Simon Scholes, Managing Director of VEKA Recycling Ltd, which operates from Europe’s newest and most advanced PVC-U recycling facility, based at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, says that his business has benefitted from the resin supply issues faced by businesses: “We have received significantly higher enquiry levels in recent months from buyers looking for alternative supply routes as resin supplies have been disrupted. And although they may not have looked at recycled compounds were it not for the shortages and price rises, we welcome the opportunity to prove not just that our material is of the highest possible quality, but also that the PVC-U recycling industry has come a long way in recent years to become as professional as any.”
Simon was speaking as VEKA Recycling’s new facility came fully on-stream to provide single-site processing of post-consumer windows and doors, as well as virgin offcut profiles to a UK market that the company’s German parent VEKA AG, sees as worthy of its £15 million investment: “We have been supplying a number of companies that take our compounds produced from recycled PVC-U window and door frames, for very positive reasons, including the benefits of selling sustainable products and also the security of supply and price stability of raw materials,” says Simon. “And we have a significant number of new customers taking our material in growing volumes, as companies become confident of a healthy post Covid future.”
But why has it taken a supply crisis for other procurement managers to explore this route? Simon says that there are a number of reasons: “It often takes disruption for change to be considered of course. But many buyers have not updated their attitudes to the use of recycled PVC-U compounds. VEKA, together with some other major, multinational brands, has dramatically changed the production of and market for compounds produced from post-consumer windows and doors by driving up quality in everything that we do.
“We offer consistency of product quality and volumes to extruders, which was the entire objective of the investment in our new state-of-the-art plant here in Wellingborough,” insisted Simon. “Buyers often take our compounds because of a demand for sustainable products from their customers; but they can only do so in the knowledge that product quality is excellent and also, that it is supplied to a consistently high quality appropriate for their processes, week in, week out. And, in the face of resin disruption throughout last year, our buyers enjoyed continuity of supply and stable prices. Recycling has grown up,” added Simon.