The Green Choice for Rainwater Gutters
When the time comes to change the rainwater gutters on your home many householders are unaware of the choices available. DIY chains only offer a range of plastic (uPVC) gutters off the shelf. Visit a Builders Merchant and there are still little alternatives on offer. So, if you have watched programs like Blue Planet or read the vast number of reports on the downside of plastics do you have a more environmentally friendly alternative.
The UK gutter market is dominated by black plastic guttering. Is this a bad thing? Consider these points.
- PVC makes up 40% of all plastics used in the construction industry (Geyer et al 2017)
- PVC is almost never recycled (BBC Science & Environment Dec 2018)
- PVC can contaminate other recyclable plastics (BBC Science & Environment Dec 2018)
- Requires on-going maintenance
- Life expectancy less than other roofing elements
- Has little or no scrap value
- Creates waste during installation and at the end of life
So, if not plastic, what is the best material to make a gutter from? Aluminium is far better for the environment than plastic, or any other material used to make rainwater products. Responsibly sourced it has the following advantages;
- 100% recycled at end of life (Hydro Aluminium)
- Infinitely recyclable – No loss of properties (Hydro Aluminium)
- 75% of aluminium still in use today (ALFED – Aluminium Federation)
- Manufacturing from recycled material requires 95% less energy
- UK Building industry – 95% recycling rate (ALFED – Aluminium Federation)
- Total greenhouse gases produced in aluminium manufacture halved in the last 20 years (ALFED – Aluminium Federation)
- Scrap value encourages recycling
- Low embodied carbon
- Perfect for the circular economy
Mustang Seamless guttering maximises the advantages of changing away from uPVC guttering. By design, it contrasts the accepted negative characteristics of uPVC and proposes positive alternatives.
Exeter City Council – Case Study
- Has joints that leak over time
- Fades in colour over time
- Waste created during install from cut ends
- Components wrapped in single-use packaging
- Life expectancy 15-20 years.
Guttering Works – replace circa 280 linear metres of pvc guttering
Current State – in need of repair/replace
Most recent install – 1990’s
Scrap Value – £0.00
Property number one will have to have the guttering removed, which due to the lack of any value is like to be disposed of in a skip and taken to landfill. In addition to this waste requiring disposal, offcuts and single-use plastic wrappers from the installation will also need to be disposed of. Exeter City Council has several similar properties like the ones shown above. These examples require new windows, doors and eaves line replacement.
Mustang Seamless Guttering
- Made from continuous lengths – no joints
- No waste made on-site to exact dimensions
- Recycled cardboard only
- Life Expectancy 30+ years.
Guttering works – replace circa 300 linear metres seamless guttering
Current State – fully functioning
Originally installed – early 1980’s
Scrap value – £190.00
By comparison, property 2 has fully functioning seamless guttering already installed. This was installed in the early 1980s and the client has decided that it is unrealistic that it will last another 30+ years so it will be replaced. Approximately 480kgs of aluminium gutter and brackets will be taken down (1.6kgs per/m) and can be recycled with a cashback value of £190.00 (£0.396 per Kg Sims Metal Management Dec 19). This will be recycled, sold and made into new aluminium products for 95% less energy and carbon that products made from raw materials. This inherent value ensures that the product being removed will not go to landfill and significantly reduces the amount of waste being created by this scope of works. In addition, there will also be no waste created by the installing of new gutters.
But what about the cost? As well as being more environmentally sustainable than most other materials used to make gutters, it is also cost comparable to plastic systems. To find out more please read our article and view our video.