Refuse derived fuel created from former building wrap

A 4,000 square metre building wrap has been converted into fuel energy with zero waste by Embrace Building Wraps.

The award-winning building wrap was installed in 2022 and covered Smallbrook Queensway SBQ in Birmingham for our client CEG Commercial Estates Group (CEG). It has now been removed from display and is the first project we have sent into our waste management scheme of waste to energy with our partners Reconomy.

Once again, we are leading the way in our sector, being the first large format visual solutions provider to work with Reconomy & FESPA UK. Our partners have certified that 100% of the spent 4,000 m2 printed PVC mesh wrap (weighing 1.81 tonnes) has been diverted from landfill via Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) recovery. The waste to energy processing was conducted in a confidential environment at an approved facility here in the UK.

RDF is used to turn waste into fuel that is used at Energy from Waste facilities to generate power and heat. This produces green energy for electricity into the National Grid instead of sending waste to landfill.

Reconomy & FESPA UK continue to look at more sustainable processing options for end-of-life printed materials, and we encourage other business to follow our lead in our sector. Our climate action initiative tells our customers that we consider our environmental responsibilities to be a major priority. It has a positive impact on protecting the environment, growing our business responsibly and also attracting new clients with a similar ethos. The certificates issued can then be used as part of our clients BREEAM assessments too.

All of the printed substrates we use are fire-rated with associated test reports and certificates. When mixed with various combustible components the spent banners can be processed to create fuel, alongside non-recyclable plastics, paper cardboard, labels and generally ‘corrugative’ materials.

Greg Forster, Managing Director at Embrace Building Wraps, said:

Doing good and responsible business does not have to cost the Earth. Of course, there is an additional cost associated with using the service, However, I see this as an investment in our futures.

I would add when we installed this wrap in the summer of 2022, we also funded the planting of 1,000 new trees in our global forest and invested in 20 tonnes of carbon offsets as part of our Climate Action Initiative.

To date Embrace have funded the planting of 13,804 new trees in our global forest across 18 projects and supported the prevention of 228.57 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) from being emitted through 49 verified carbon avoidance projects across the globe.

Reconomy Director and Sustainability expert Jon Hutton commented:

We are thrilled to be working with Embrace Building Wraps and be part of their sustainability journey. This is the largest single project so far that we’ve diverted from landfill, at 4,000 square metres, and the first of other scheduled takeback campaigns. Embrace are helping to pioneer solutions to some of the challenges faced in the digital print market and managing end-of-campaign material is a key strategy.