Stormbox E Story: Asserting Recycled Material Potential in the Construction Industry

January 28, 2022 | 4 min read

Pipelife’s stormwater attenuation and soakaway crate systems, Stormbox I and Stormbox II, have a long-established reputation among customers due to their high reliability and fast, straightforward installation. After thorough material testing and production test runs, we are proud to expand our range of stormwater systems with Stormbox E. The new attenuation and soakaway crates are made from 100%-recycled material, and this is almost the only difference between them and their counterparts from virgin materials.

Stormbox E retention crates in the warehouse of Pipelife Poland | Pipelife

The Importance of Material Circularity in the Construction Industry

While the most obvious benefit of plastic recycling is less waste going to landfills, there are other equally important environmental, economic and social advantages. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials and the environmental impacts of sourcing them. Using recyclates in production requires less energy and lowers CO2 emissions.

With increasing awareness of the importance of transitioning towards a circular economy, developers and contractors in both public and private sectors are now seeking ways to ensure their projects are not only functional and reliable but also sustainable. In line with these trends, Pipelife has been continuously increasing the amount of recycled materials deployed in production and expanding the range of recycled, recyclable and reusable products. Stormbox E rainwater retention crates are the latest recycled product Pipelife introduced to the market.

Stormbox E retention crates can be stacked in multiple levels| Pipelife
Stormbox E soakaway crates in the warehouse of Pipelife Poland | Pipelife

Why Europe is not Recycling More

In order to tackle the issue of plastic waste, the European Union has set an ambitious target to recycle 50% of plastic packaging by 2025 and to reach 55% by 2030. Still, the progress has been inhibited. Unstandardized or low-quality plastic waste is part of the issue. Another part is the existing bias regarding the properties of products made from recycled plastics and how this affects the development and market stability of the recycling sector.

While new sorting approaches and technologies have significantly improved the quality of recycled materials currently available, the awareness of these advances is not widespread enough to increase consumer acceptance.

“It is still widely believed that recycled materials have unfavorable or inferior properties, but we can prove that this misconception is no longer valid,” asserts Hielke Hoextra, Application Development Manager of Pipelife, “You can have highly reliable products made from recycled plastics. Of course, you need to test such materials very carefully, but it is possible to do that.”

Stormbox E soakaway crates being installed | Pipelife
A close up of Stormbox E retention crate | Pipelife

Lower Environmental Impact, Same Quality Standards

Launched in 2021, Stormbox E retention crates are produced from top-quality 100% recycled material. It took almost a year of developing and testing to ensure the product meets the international standards for stormwater systems and the high quality customers are expecting from Pipelife.

“We applied the proven design of Stormbox I, so we just had to test the recycled material itself and its properties, especially the long-term properties,” explains Hoekstra, “What we have discovered is that the material is very good, and the product’s characteristics are almost equal to the Stormbox made from virgin material.”

Currently, Stormbox E is available at the size of 1200 x 600 x 300 mm with a gross capacity of 216 liters. Its scope of application is nearly the same as for Stormbox I, including retention, storage and soakaway in green areas, parking lots and for most road drainage projects. The only exceptions are stormwater storage systems where high groundwater levels occur or under very high traffic loads. The estimated service life of Stormbox E is 50 years.

“For us, it is important that customers experience no differences. That there are no extra challenges with the installation or with the properties of the product,” sums up Hoekstra, “At least 90% of all projects that require retention crates can be implemented with Stormbox E, and this is also beneficial for municipalities as they, as well, are increasingly asking for sustainable projects.”

When Circularity Meets Reliability

Since its market launch, the new product has attracted a lot of attention, especially among clients in Poland. The successful application of every high-quality solution made from recycled materials not only brings sustainability in construction, but also dismantles preconceptions standing in the way of a circular economy.

“Our clients trust us for our openness and honesty. As a reliable manufacturer and business partner, it is our duty to tell them exactly what to expect from our recycled products. If we want to increase the market’s acceptance of recycled construction material and speed up the transition towards a circular economy, manufacturers and suppliers need to maximize transparency,” says Harald Schwarzmayr, CEO Pipelife.

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