Dec 14th, 2021 | 4 min read
The Durofort pipe produced by Pipelife Netherlands was the first wastewater and stormwater pipe that is 100% recyclable and made completely from recycled PVC to enter the national market. It already meets the European Green Deal targets set for 2050 and has received the 2021 RIONED Innovation award due to its strong contribution to a circular economy. Is there a way to make such a product even more sustainable? Pipelife Netherlands believes that the answer lies in sourcing recyclable materials locally.
The Durofort story started in 2019, when the municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch approached Pipelife Netherlands and expressed its interest in sustainable sewerage systems. The municipality was looking for a partner to carry out several projects while ensuring the smallest possible carbon footprint.
Pipelife Netherlands already had expertise in using recycled polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in production, as they had developed their Renofort pipe using 50% recycled PVC. Following the initial discussions, the idea of a 100% recycled PVC pipe was born. However, the challenge lies in incorporating previously used PVC from different origins while ensuring the same high product quality clients expect.
After intensive testing and improving, Pipelife Netherlands was successful in developing a high-quality PVC pipe completely from recycled materials. Furthermore, the new pipe has strong mechanical properties, high impact resistance, dimensional stability, and nominal ring stiffness. Its excellent chemical resistance and load capacity meet the requirements for KOMO certification (a national top-quality mark for the building and infrastructure sector).
One of the first projects where the newly developed Durofort pipe was installed was the construction of 54 houses in the De Vliert district located in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. A sustainable sewage system was crucial to help meet the municipality’s objectives of transitioning towards a waste-free, circular economy.
The newly developed Durofort pipe was a perfect fit for the project. Apart from going without virgin materials for production and reducing plastic waste in landfills, it boasts an estimated service life of approximately 100 years. Afterwards, Durofort pipes can be fully recycled and used in manufacturing new PVC products, ensuring a material life cycle of several hundreds of years.
Following the success of these first projects, the municipality of Enkhuizen also reached out to Pipelife, expressing interest in using Durofort pipes to make their wastewater system more sustainable. Both parties were excited to explore the possibility of using locally collected waste in production.
In the current production process, we use hard PVC extracted from plastics collected in the Netherlands and process it into new pipes. Durofort pipes that have been delivered and installed in the municipality of Enkhuizen are made this way. Furthermore, several surrounding municipalities also use Durofort, benefitting from reducing and recycling locally collected waste. By now, Durofort pipes have been installed in at least ten municipalities in the Netherlands.
Every gram of recycled materials used in production reduces the demand for raw ones, contributing to a more sustainable economy. Using recycled materials preserves nature, saves energy, and minimizes the amount of waste going to landfills.
Managing recyclable waste locally has additional benefits, such as reducing fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions that inevitably arise from transporting recycled or recyclable materials over long distances. Completing the cycle of collection, recycling, and local reuse is a step towards energy- and material-neutral systems that are not only greener, but also strengthen local economies.
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