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Why plastic waste is an ideal building material

The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained

Much of the planet is swimming in discarded plastic. However, the world produces still around 359 million tonnes of plastics each year. Of the plastic packaging, such as the plastic bottles you drink from, 95% is lost to the economy after a short first use, and take 450 years to decompose.

This has led to a stigma that plastics are an unsustainable material. And yes we still need to clean up the plastic waste. However, the main issue is not with plastic as a material, but with our linear economic model: Take-make-use-dispose. This model assumes endless economic growth and doesn’t consider the planet’s limited resources.

This is important because we could also set plastic in a circular pattern of "recycle-use-repeat". Turning disused plastics into a hardy, reliable and sustainable building material. This is important for to the construction industry, as plastic initiatives can replace conventional building materials. In this blog post, we will focus on recycled and recyclable plastic PET panel building material. We’ll define in this blog post (recycled and recyclable) PET building panels are and why they are good building materials, and show a few examples in which sectors the panels are and can be used in.


What are (recycled and recyclable) PET panels?

PET panels are plastic structural building panels that can be used for a wide range of needs by, among others, architects, interior designers, event stand builders, contractors, boat-, or campervan builders.

What is PET material?

PET (also abbreviated PETE) is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. PET is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic that is widely used for packaging foods and beverages, especially convenience-sized soft drinks, juices and water.

What is the difference between recycled PET and virgin PET?

What is the difference between recycled and recyclable?

How does PET recycling work?

How are (recycled and recyclable) PET panels made?

What is the production proces of REPEAT® Materials panels?


Why are recycled and recyclable PET panels a good building material?

When it comes to mechanical properties, ease of use and durability, recycled and recyclable PET panels can hold their own amongst the traditional competitors.

Plastics are strong, durable, waterproof, lightweight, easy to mould, and recyclable – all key properties for construction materials’, - stated scientific researcher Sibele Cestari in the BBC in August 2020.

Besides, state-of-the-art technology enables to make 100% recycled and recyclable top sheets from PET. The printing is done on a water base for a lower carbon footprint and gives the finishing available in a wide color and décor ranges. Thus, making it a highly recommended strong and aesthetic building panel by architects and interior designers.

Furthermore, the European Commission stated in a ‘Circular Economy Action Plan: For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ in 2020 that: ‘Greater material efficiency at the design phase of products could save 80% of emissions’. The carbon footprint of recycled and recyclable PET panels shows a lower impact than competing products, such as HPL panels, aluminum composite panels and bio-composite sandwich panels. Scientific researcher Sibele Cestari states again why plastic waste (such as recycled and recyclable PET) is a good sustainable building material:

'Working with the ‘unrecyclable’ waste and developing plastics alternatives to natural materials may reduce demand on the world’s resources’, and 'Building with plastic waste requires fewer resources than natural products, and would otherwise go to landfill or into the oceans'.


Example applications of recycled and recyclable PET panels

  • Bathroom panels

  • Décor wall panels

  • Self-supporting walls

  • Panels for boat interior

  • Panels for camper-van interior

  • Event stands construction


Closing The Loop

It is time to change the linear economy to a more circular economy. Plastic waste shows to be an ideal building material.

For example, recycled and recyclable PET panels give architects and interior designers a strong, waterproof, lightweight building material to build with. The top sheets available in a wide color and décor ranges also enables them to build with eye for detail and give customers they style they prefer. On the other hand, those characteristics will also have a beneficial impact on the planet. The recycled and recyclable principles of the PET panels make the products a durable and sustainable building material. Reuse the same materials over and over again to create new products for purchase to conserve natural resources and divert plastic waste from the landfill.

Let’s close the loop. Let’s welcome plastic initiatives to replace conventional building materials.


REPEAT® Materials in your business

REPEAT® Materials is a leading innovator in the field of sustainable architectural materials, and a premier developer of high performance, low cost, and low environmental impact recycled and recyclable PET structural panels. Enthusiastic about recycled and recyclable PET panels after reading this blog post?


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