Recycling is the process of making new products from waste material. The process helps to improve the environment by reducing waste disposal and potentially reducing landfill accumulation and incineration, which leads to greenhouse gas emissions.
Many think vinyl siding can’t be recycled; however, this is FALSE.
Vinyl siding (polypropylene siding and insulated vinyl siding too) lends itself to recycling because it is made from vinyl (also known as polyvinyl chloride or PVC.) It is a thermoplastic that can be ground up repeatedly, re-melted and formed into a variety of new products even after the useful life of the product.
So, how can vinyl siding be recycled?
Post-consumer refers to material that comes from end-users of a product and can no longer be used for its intended purpose. For example, vinyl siding scrap generated by contractors, builders and remodelers, and old vinyl siding torn off of homes or apartments (end-of-life scrap) in remodeling can be recycled.
Post-consumer material also applies to returns from the distribution chain, including returns of defective material and obsolete material that distributors cannot/will not sell. Vinyl siding and polypropylene siding can be post-consumer recycled.
Post-industrial recycling refers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process that cannot be reclaimed within the same process that generated it. In terms of vinyl siding, this would consist of vinyl scrap from the manufacturing process that could not be reground in-house. (The industry refers to this material as "pre-consumer" because it has left the manufacturing facility but has not yet been used by the consumer.) Vinyl siding, polypropylene siding, and insulated vinyl siding can be post-industrial recycled.
The industry refers to this category as recycling in-house scrap or regrind because the material never leaves the production facility. The trimmings, shavings, color changes and rejected vinyl that results during the manufacturing process are simply ground up and used again to create new siding or other products. This is an excellent practice that makes vinyl siding manufacturing highly material-efficient. Vinyl siding, polypropylene siding, and insulated vinyl siding can be a part of a closed-looped recycling/reuse process.
Recycling is a vital component of reducing landfills and other associated activities that are related to landfills like incineration. By implementing more recycling initiatives, landfill diversion can take place.