Chicago-based Azek Co. Inc. will begin using PVC scrap from construction and demolition (C&D) waste in its outdoor building products through a partnership with Bothell, Wash.-based DTG Recycle.
DTG Recycle Inc., the largest C&D waste recycler in the Pacific Northwest, will collect PVC siding, windows, fencing and pipe from the region and send them to Azek's subsidiary, Return Polymers in Ashland, Ohio. Return Polymers then will turn the scrap into blends of PVC material that become the recycled content of TimberTech-brand decking and Azek- and Versatex-brand trim.
The goal of the partnership is to use DTG Recycle's collection and processing network to expand Azek's Full-Circle PVC Recycling Program beyond post-industrial producers of PVC scrap to the construction industry.
DTG Recycle officials said they have been waiting for a partnership like this since the company was founded in 1999.
"There has been a complete void of off-markets for PVC, so much so that for the entire history of DTG Recycle, we have actively discouraged customers from bringing it to us," Matt Dunyon, DTG director of operations, said in an email.
Plastics industry officials estimate only about 14 percent of post-consumer PVC goods, such as vinyl floors, siding and roofing membranes, get recycled, compared with 85 percent of industrial and pre-consumer PVC, such as manufacturing scraps, rejects and trimmings.
"We are excited about what this C&D recycling alliance with DTG Recycle represents — a new recovery channel for PVC waste and scrap that might be otherwise destined for landfills," Azek CEO Jesse Singh said in a news release.
The partnership not only tackles a big problem of what to do with some of the plastic materials generated during the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings, but also it will help Azek meet a goal to recycle 1 billion pounds of waste and scrap annually by the end of 2026.
"To achieve this ambition, and, ultimately, to advance and sustain a circular economy, it is imperative to find new solutions and new partners whose leadership, capabilities and sustainability goals match our own. We have found that and more in DTG Recycle," Singh said.
DTG Recycle's website says it has more than 100 trucks and 1,500 recycling containers to set up at C&D sites in the greater Pacific Northwest area, which includes all of Washington; the Portland, Ore., metro area; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The company has a wide range of "collection assets" in the form of dumpsters and truck-and-trailer combinations, Dunyon said.
For sorting, the filled containers and trucks are taken to one of the company's nine material recovery facilities, which Dunyon said are strategically located "to reduce the carbon footprint of the collection process."
"The collected materials get sorted, processed and used in products that DTG Recycle manufactures and third-party remanufacturers. For example, plastic products are reincorporated as a substantial constituent in various building products such as fencing and decking," Dunyon said.
Plastics that are not recyclable are processed into low-carbon fuel for cement production.
The PVC scrap going to Return Polymers is turned into PVC polymer blends from 100 percent recycled sources.
With the alliance, DTG Recycle picks up an important new end market, according to CEO Tom Vaughn.
"This is a big win for the construction industry and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, as this alliance both creates an open-loop recycling solution for otherwise landfill-bound debris and helps further protect the local and regional environments for everyone to enjoy," Vaughn said in the release.
Open loops recycle materials into new products, such as scrap PVC pipe being used to produce decking, while closed loops recycle materials into new versions of the original product.
"The innovative program Azek has created will allow our customers to bring us rigid PVC materials, including siding, decking, window frames and pipe," Dunyon said. "This will make a significant impact on sustainability for the construction community."