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PE PIPES, CARBON REDUCTION & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

James Roebuck, National Sales Manager, egeplast UK

Never before has there been as much focus on the reduction of carbon emissions and the protection of our natural environment. If the UK is to meet its national emission reduction targets of 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035, the construction and related industries have a role to play with the built environment accounting for 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint.[i]

As a manufacturer of pipe products used by the utility, housebuilder and wider construction industries, we are actively taking steps to support our customers as they aim to reduce their environmental impact whether that’s through product design and manufacture, the services we provide or the way we operate.

Although a PE (plastic) pipe system may not appear to be the most environmentally friendly options, in reality that’s not the case and there are a number important factors to consider when choosing a pipe system for your project.

1. Our pipe products are effectively made from waste

Sound strange? Well the plastic used to manufacture pipe systems is manufactured from chemicals that are a by-product of another manufacturing process so in effect our products are made from a waste product that would otherwise have to be disposed of. As a result, polyethylene (PE) pipe has a relatively low carbon impact when compared to pipe products made from other materials.

2. We don’t need to use lots of energy or chemical processes to make our products work

PE pipe manufacture doesn’t require huge amounts of heat or energy and that ensures our pipe products have lower embodied carbon levels than products which require the use of furnaces, for example, during the manufacturing process. In addition, because our pipe products are manufactured from plastic, we don’t need to coat them or put them through a chemical process to make them fit-for-purpose.

3. Our products are highly durable and 100% recyclable

Unlike single use plastics and other plastic products which are designed for short term use, our pipe products are designed to last for at least 100 years, and when they do need replacing, they can be 100% recycled to minimise their environmental impact.

4. Our barrier pipe system enables trenchless installation

Our skinned SLA barrier pipe system enables the use of innovative installation methodologies which reduce the carbon footprint of pipe installations by either negating the need to dig trenches or avoiding the use of aggregate as bedding with the related issues around delivery and the removal of spoil.

5. Our system designs minimise your carbon footprint

Our innovative pipe system designs come complete with butt ends, eliminating the need to use concrete thrust blocks and reducing the system’s carbon footprint. They also require less fittings than alternative pipe systems.

6. Transportation

PE pipe systems, unlike pipes manufactured from other materials, can be coiled when transported to maximise the amount of product on a load and so reduce the number of loads required and related carbon emissions. The lighter weight of plastic versus other pipe materials, also means less fuel is used during deliveries.

7. Innovative just-in-time deliveries, direct to site

We can now provide just-in-time deliveries direct from any egeplast factory in the UK or Europe to your construction site, using mega trailers to reduce the number of loads required and the resultant carbon emissions. Having a UK manufacturing facility in Doncaster also means mileage is kept to a minimum for local deliveries to UK sites.

8. We’re a ‘zero to landfill’ company

egeplast UK sends no waste to landfill. egeplast International GmbH has also made this standard policy for every company it operates across the world as part of its environmental commitments.

So when looking for a pipe system which helps minimise a project’s carbon footprint and its environmental impact, it’s vital to consider the whole lifecycle of a pipe product before making a final selection. Specifiers need to review everything from material sourcing and manufacturing processes through to delivery methods and whether, at the end of its life, a pipe becomes waste or can be recycled. Only then can they obtain an informed view of a pipe system’s environmental impact and its contribution to a project’s carbon footprint.

i The Green Building Council – https://www.ciob.org/industry/policy-research/policy-positions/climate-change-sustainability#:~:text=The%20UK%20Green%20Building%20Council,do%20with%20their%20functional%20operation.

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