Seven lifes

Recycling of 205 old windows

The remediation work at the living center of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, ASB, Ortsverband Chemnitz und Umgebung e.V. (Workers’ Sama­ritan Organization, local section of Chemnitz, and its surroundings) situated in the Chemnitzer Rembrandtstraße requires particular care. Currently, 32 physically handicapped people are living in the 23  apartments in House 2 of the facility, whose daily routine should be interrupted as little as possible by the construction project.

No easy task, as apart from works on the façade, the project comprises the exchange of 205 disused PVC windows for new heat-insulated plastic windows with triple glazing. During the removal and installation work, each window will be housed in a dust protection cabin to keep the occupied rooms as clean as possible. The inhabitants will be able to use their familiar living space again already in the  evening.

Care for the environment

The constructor, the architecture office Claus Höhn along with the company executing the work, the craft business Liebert GmbH from Chemnitz, will also be reasonably careful when disposing of the old building material. After their removal, the old windows will not be disposed of in the waste incineration plant, but recycled by the VEKA Umwelttechnik GmbH in Thuringia and then installed again elsewhere as recycling windows.

Wanted: exemplary building projects

With this, the Chemnitz-based building project takes part in the transnational activity “Best Practice for the Environment”. By the end of the year, Saxonia, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia will identify and then document exemplary sustainable building projects, in whose context the materials of PVC building  products will be recycled. Initiator of this environmental campaign, which was actively supported by regional and national associations and companies, was the Rewindo Fenster-Recycling-Service GmbH from Bonn, the working committee PVC-Bodenbelag Recycling (AgPR) from Marl and the working   committee PVC und Umwelt e.V. (AGPU) from Bonn.

Contribution to recycling targets of „VinylPlus“

Since 2002, the Rewindo-System has been working throughout Germany coordinating the materials recycling of old PVC windows, shutters and doors in a closed material cycle. “In the plants of the  recycling partner companies cooperating with us, almost 30 000 tons of PVC granules were recycled  from old windows and reused in 2016. This corresponds to approx. 1.8 million windows”, reported  Michael Vetter, managing director at Rewindo on the occasion of an on-site inspection at the building  site. With this, his organization made an important contribution to achieving the recycling targets of the  European PVC industry, which are set out in the pan-European sustainability program of the joint initiative  “Vinylplus”.

Plastic windows with recyclate core

The VEKA Umwelttechnik is one of the Rewindo partner companies running one of the largest cutting-edge window recycling facilities in Europe. This is where the windows from Chemnitz are  transported to and where they enter the recycling process: At first, the old PVC windows are shredded and further crushed. Then, the material is properly sorted and separated into metal, rubber, glass remnants and plastics. The latter is heated and pressed through a filter in order to eliminate remaining foreign particles. The pure PVC granule recycled in this process is finally the starting material for new plastic windows with recyclate core.

Recycling without loss of quality

„Thus, this is not the end of life for the old windows from Chemnitz, but the beginning of a new one,” Vetter explains. “Due to the high recycling capability of PVC, the windows could even be used for  another hundred years. Scientific studies showed that plastic windows with a useful life of at least 30-40 years can be recycled and reused at least seven times without experiencing a loss of quality”.

Please submit information on suitable “Best Practice“ reference objects to:

Rewindo GmbH

Michael Vetter

Am Hofgarten 1-2, 53113 Bonn

Tel.: 0228 / 921283-0, Fax: 0228 / 5389594

E-Mail: $(LEmailto:


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