Life cycle assessment of recycling PVC window frames

Heinz Stichnothe, Adisa Azapagic

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    This paper presents the life cycle impacts of recycling PVC window frames. Both post-industrial and post-consumer waste are considered to produce white and non-white chips and powder. The results suggest that significant savings of environmental impacts can be achieved by using PVC from recycled waste frames compared to virgin PVC resin. Recycling post-consumer waste leads to higher savings than post-industrial waste due to the credits for metals recycling. For example, replacing virgin by PVC from post-consumer waste saves around 2 t of CO2 eq./t of PVC while PVC from post-industrial waste saves 1.8 t. The results are sensitive to transport distances and truck payloads. For instance, the global warming potential (GWP) of non-white PVC chips increases 1.7 times when the transport distance increases from 100 to 500 km and the payload factor decreases from 0.7 to 0.2. Credits for metals recycling influence the environmental savings: crediting the system for virgin aluminium saves 54 times more CO2 eq./t of recycled PVC compared to the credits for recycled aluminium. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-47
    Number of pages7
    JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Environmental impacts
    • LCA
    • Metals recycling
    • PVC recycling
    • PVC windows


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