EnviroBuild is first UK company to publish environmental impact of its composite products

EnviroBuild has made history, becoming the first company in the UK to publish the environmental impact of its composite products with an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

Traditionally EPDs use an internationally standardised method to determine the impact of a product over its lifetime. Completing the report will allow EnviroBuild to identify and mitigate their contribution to climate change and increase their sustainability. EnviroBuild freely chose to make their EPD public in order to increase their transparency and to hold themselves accountable to their sustainable commitments.

The team at EnviroBuild have looked at their environmental impact at every stage of the design and development process including manufacturing, shipping, disposal and treatment. This is particularly significant as many manufacturers only consider their manufacturing processes when creating an EPD, whereas EnviroBuild has analysed its business from end-to-end, including its transportation, use and disposal stages.

Buster Palmano, Technical Director at EnviroBuild, said: “The impact on the environment also covers more than just greenhouse gas emissions (global warming potential), we’ve also looked into things like ozone depletion, the environmental effect on bodies of water, the creation of any harmful substances and water consumption.”

The report revealed that the Net CO₂ works out at +1.53 kg per kg of composite, when looking at every stage of the product lifecycle, including the company’s move to 100% renewable energy in 2021. The data shows that the company is currently outputting more CO₂ than they are removing from the atmosphere. The disposal stage is the largest contributor to this output as the product releases carbon as it biodegrades.

In comparison, the data reveals that the raw material processing stage absorbs more CO₂ than it releases. This is most likely due to the fact the construction process of the composite products involves using waste wood which absorbs CO₂ during its growth. The majority of the other raw materials used are recycled plastic, which have very little impact.

The manufacturing stage of the EPD report has a small CO₂ output, which is largely due to the company moving to wind energy. By doing this, they were able to reduce the total carbon impact by over 30%!

The ultimate goal of Envirobuild is to not only offset their environmental impact but reduce it entirely. In order to address the findings of the EPD and increase their sustainability, Envirobuild are starting multiple initiatives.

Palmano said: “We are removing plastic packaging from smaller items such as screws and we are looking to improve the sustainability of our non-combustible flooring solutions, including porcelain paving and aluminium decking (ProGrip and Aquachannel).”

The company is also looking to move the majority of its additional ranges to wind power. When purchasing renewable energy, the company will buy it in the country of production where they are using the energy. This is to ensure that they aren’t, for example, polluting one country and then balancing that pollution by planting trees in the UK.

In order to address their biggest CO₂ output, Envirobuild will be encouraging builders’ merchants and customers to reuse old decking at its end of life rather than sending it to landfill.

EnviroBuild is continually measuring and analysing the environmental impact of all of its products through LCAs and publishing EPDs, and using the results to objectively find the most effective way to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible. For EnviroBuild, the move to wind energy for Hyperion was just the start.