Is GRP environmentally sustainable?

Incorporating sustainability into your business strategy is no longer just an option. It’s essential to your success.

Nowadays, there’s huge pressure on companies to be more eco-friendly and make a profit whilst also reducing their carbon footprint. Which is why, more and more, our prospective clients are coming to us with one key question – is glass reinforced plastic (GRP) sustainable?

According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is defined as a solution ‘which meets the needs of current generations, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. And GRP products certainly meet this criterion. Here we take a closer look at how.


Low-impact manufacturing

When manufacturing materials – such as steel or aluminium – one of the biggest environmental issues is the creation of harmful by-products. These by-products are subsequently released into the atmosphere, where they add to air pollution and have a negative impact on the environment.

By contrast, GRP production is very benign.

The production of base resins and fibre rovings doesn’t have the same impact on the environment as the production of metals. Pultrusion takes place in a fully-closed process, which minimises the evaporation of volatile compounds, and no smoke clouds or toxic air pollutants are created.

What’s more, the curing process used to make glass fibre products is exothermic (i.e. it gives off heat) – and, as a result, it uses very little energy. In fact, on average, GRP production requires 75% less energy than steel production and its carbon footprint is very favourable.


A long-lasting material

When it comes to sustainability, it’s fair to say, plastics have a pretty bad reputation – and there’s no denying that some are particularly damaging to the environment.

Take, for example, PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Both of these break down very quickly in outdoor environments. Which means, they’re very quickly absorbed into the earth and cause a significant level of ground pollution.

In comparison, the resins in GRP products are much stronger and more durable. They don’t break down in the same way as PVA and PVC and, in most cases, will offer a long service life of 50-100 years or more. As such, they’re a much more sustainable option – not only better for the environment, but better for your company’s budget too.


The potential to recycle and re-use

GRP is 100% recyclable. Even after GRP products have been used for their intended purpose and reach the end of their lifecycle in the original context, they can be easily repurposed and used again.

For example, GRP waste is often shredded and processed to create a high-grade alternative for the cement industry, where it is used as a fuel and mineral raw material. GRP products are also commonly upcycled for use in a wide range of non-standard applications.

The aim is to take advantage of its inherent durability and longevity and reduce waste by using the same material for a secondary purpose.


Get in touch with our GRP experts

If you’d like to reduce your business’s environmental impact, choosing GRP over other, less eco-friendly materials is certainly a good place to start.

So, why not take the first step and contact our team today? We’re always on hand to help and will gladly answer any questions you may have regarding the sustainability of GRP products and how they could improve your company’s green credentials. Simply give us a call on 01695 557 711, email, or fill in our contact form and we’ll respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

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