Recyclable Enclosures Offer More End-of-Life Options

With the rise of green building, building professionals have become much
 more familiar with what goes into the products they specify and 
install. For example, volatile organic chemicals – more frequently know 
by the acronym VOCs – have largely disappeared from paint, carpet and 
other building products due to greater awareness of the health problems 
they can cause. nVent Hoffman

Chuck Ross

With the rise of green building, building professionals have become much more familiar with what goes into the products they specify and install. For example, volatile organic chemicals – more frequently know by the acronym VOCs – have largely disappeared from paint, carpet and other building products due to greater awareness of the health problems they can cause. Now, environmentally aware designers, along with some states’ legislatures, are becoming more concerned about what happens when those products have reached the end of their useful life. As a result, recyclability is beginning to enter specification decisions.

A big reason for today’s interest in building-product recycling is the sheer volume of waste generated by construction and demolition activities – 534 tons of it in 2014, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Association figures, with 90% related to demolition, alone. That’s more than twice of what homes and businesses generate through municipal solid waste.

Of course, much of that weight is the result of concrete, asphalt, steel and other structural material, but plastic makes it into this category, as well. This is why specifying plastic products that are marked as recyclable can help reduce at least some of the waste that comes out of buildings as they reach the end of their useful life, or undergo major renovations. Of course, we can’t know now whether future owners will make the effort, but at least the option will be open to them.

Polyester-based non-metallic enclosures are one such option for electrical specifiers and contractors. In addition to performing well where harsh chemicals are present and standing up to UV exposure, many of these enclosures also are recyclable. Opting for such a product, where it’s appropriate, could prove to be a small step in reducing tomorrow’s building-related waste.


Photo courtesy of nVent Hoffman