Monday, May 3, 2010

Can Polycarbonate Be Recycled?

As you may know, our house (and my ears!) have been subject to some renovation. It's not finished yet!

The balcony still needs to be 'closed up' with either glass or polycarbonate, or both.

This renovation has not been very eco, as I am NOT an expert on eco building materials (yet?) and mostly my Dad was in charge! Also, there have been some considerations: not-so-very-strong walls and balcony mean that light (not heavy) materials need to be used. So polycarbonate was recommended to us.

Can polycarbonate be recycled?

I almost fainted when I saw who produces polycarbonate! No other than the infamous Bayer! (producers of aspirins, toxic chemicals cotton is sprayed with in India, and the infamous Gaucho, alleged beekiller, that corn is treated with!)

Bayer says their polycarbonate product Makrolon can be recycled OR incinerated. Depending if there are any facilities for recycling!
(In Slovenia, I'm guessing NOT! As CDs that are also polycarbonate can't be recycled either.) Bayer actually recommend incineration. (hm!)
Apparently it's recycled within the factory, which is a good thing! I just wish something would be done with postconsumer waste too!

Is the other polycarbonate on the market Lexan really eco? (It is claimed that is, due to energy efficiency-?)

It seems lexan may not be very toxic (tests not for the faint-hearted!) though probably not completely harmless either, especially at high temperatures used for manufacturing or such. (Data from 1992, I wonder if there is any new info?)

Then again, I'm guessing straight window glass can't really be recycled here either - 'eco islands' (local recycling containers) only accept glass bottles, and rumors have it some of those may have not been recycled either, at least some years ago. And last year may have been so-so too, as the building industry was in crisis and didn't need glass wool (which is made from recycled bottles) for insulation.

So, what would be a better choice?

No idea. I told Dad to check leftover glass he has, if anything could be made from that? I was told glass would be hotter in summer (it's a South-West window, and it really gets hot here) and polycarbonate might give better insulation with less weight.
The roof would probably be polycarbonate, we are still discussing the vertical 'windows' or non-windows.

Any ideas or suggestions?
The cheaper polycarbonate is non-see-through (one might hide from neighbours more easily! Though a curtain could be used in that effect too, says Mom! And in case you need to talk to a neighbour, it's better if you can see her on the balcony). The more expensive polycarbonate looks like glass, scratches easily though. (That prompted me back to glass.)
Slightly scared the polycarbonate balcony roof would block my view of mountains! (Don't wish the balcony to start falling apart due to too much weight though either!)

Any experience with closing down of balconies?


  1. I recommend transparent aluminum.

  2. OMG!
    I thought you were kidding and googled it just in case...??

    Do you think it's radioactive or dangerous to live under/next to? It sounds awfully dangerous to produce-??

    (Not sure any is available locally, and we get the polycarbonate delivered tomorrow I think anyway!!)
    Maybe for my next villa-??

    (PS Can it be recycled??)

  3. Well OMG I WAS kidding of course. If you googled it you can see it was a bad Star Trek reference; it just sounded like exactly what you needed. But I guess technology is advancing, although the real thing sounds pretty unstable!

  4. lol I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not, lol!!

    I love Star Trek (the original version, from the 70s-?) still not sure I'd dare to use it, ha ha!!

  5. Hello

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    my email:

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