WHY we do it
There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three. Recent investigations by the EU showed some alarming projections: global resource consumption is expected to double in the next 40 years, and annual waste generation is likely to increase with 70% by 2050. The world's environmental impact is not going to get better.
Interestingly, the same report also found that construction industry accounts for about 50% of all extracted resources, and generates roughly 35% of the EU's total waste. With such a large portion of both consumption and waste generation focused in a single industry, this is the perfect place for high-impact improvements. Even small changes in the building industry will visibly affect our entire environmental impact.
The only way forward is with a smaller footprint, and our footprint can only shrink by using less resources and generating less waste. This is where circular processes are gamechangers: turning waste into a resource tackles both problems at once.
At REPEAT Materials®, we believe in protection our environment by contributing to a more sustainable construction industry. Our goal is to offer sustainable building materials, at the same cost and performance as the state-of-the-art alternatives.
HOW we do it
The key of every sustainable product is its recycled material. Recycling turns discarded waste into a useful resource. This not only lowers the amount of existing waste, but also ensures that less new resources are used. This greatly lowers the strain on our environment.
At REPEAT Materials®, we opt for recycled PET, or rPET. This plastic is best known for its use in drinking bottles, billions of which are made and discarded each year. Many of these bottles end up in nature, where according to the WWF, they take to 450 years to decompose. By recycling them, we remove this pollution.
At the moment, our panels make use of around 75% recycled PET, with the rest being virgin PET. While this is not our desired 100%, this means that we only use 1/4th of the resources we would use otherwise.
A typical REPEAT Materials® panels contains about 625 recycled PET bottles*
*or its weight-equivalent in other PET waste.
While recycling is hugely important, by itself it is not enough. To ensure we can keep reusing the same resources, circular manufacturing processes are needed. At REPEAT Materials®, we do this by designing a product that is both easy and cheap to recycle.
Every layer in our panels is PET, no metals, no glass-fibers, no wood. This means that we can eliminate the complex (and costly) separating and sorting processes from our recycling. Damaged panels, cut-offs or even milling dust, everything is PET and can be recycled as easily as a plastic bottle.
As our waste is not "polluted" with other materials, we can re-cycle it into new panels, instead of having to down-cycle it into lower quality products. This way we can close the loop, and turn the linear pattern into a circular one.
WHERE we stand now
2 solid rPET layers
1 foam core
assembly and transport
Materials: 76 %
Process: 24 %
Materials: 31 %
Process: 69 %
Materials: 1 %
Process: 99 %
4,26 kg CO2 eq.
Materials: 81 %
Process: 19 %
Materials: 5 %
Process: 95 %
Materials: 1 %
Process: 99 %
1,91 kg oil eq.
Materials: 55 %
Process: 45 %
Materials: 39 %
Process: 61 %
Materials: 21 %
Process: 79 %
0,08 m³ water
In this table, the contribution of the main elements of a typical REPEAT Materials® panel is indicated as a percentage of the total environmental impact. This data is for a 14 mm thick Rigid panel, sized 1,2 x 2,5 m.
(Go with your cursor over the percentages to get more information.)
The very first step in designing the sustainable building blocks of our future is quantifying our environmental impacts. At REPEAT® Materials we firmly believe that you cannot manage what you do not measure.
Through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, we measure three key environmental indicators: water footprint, global warming, and fossil resource scarcity. This methodology represents the most reliable and fact-based tool available to help companies, institutions, and governments to systematically incorporate sustainability into their decision-making process.
The LCA helped us measure which layers of the panel, and which parts of the process had the largest environmental impact. This knowledge is crucial in improving the sustainability of our products.
The LCA clearly showed that the 3 mm thick, solid PET layers have by far the largest contribution. This is due in part to these layers being the heaviest. There simply is more material in these layers, so there will be a higher contribution. This shows us that future thickness optimization could still improve the sustainability of our panels. Secondly, as of now, these layers only contain 50-60% recycled PET, while the foam core contains about 99% rPET. This shows that any improvement made in the recycled fraction of these layers while greatly benefit the total panel.
We are constantly at work in improving our products. Knowing where our efforts are best spent is crucial. Thanks to our LCA, we know exactly what to do.
GWP100 Comparison [kg CO2 eq.]
Rigid 14 mm
After measuring the environmental impact of the REPEAT Materials® panels, it is important to compare with the traditional alternatives. To ensure a fair comparison, we looked at panels with similar mechanical properties and similar applications.
Here, we chose to compare with both HPL panels, using data provided by Trespa®, Dibond panels and a state-of-the-art biocomposite panel. For this comparison, all data was normalized to panels of 1,2 x 2,5 m. The thickness or weight was not normalized, as this highly dependent on panel design.
The graph shows the results for the Climate Change (GWP100) category. TGWP100 stands for the Global Warming Potential in kg CO2 equivalent in the timeframe of the next 100 years.
Based on these results, one may conclude that REPEAT materials contributes to a more sustainable future and supports the guidelines of circular economy, in which being environmentally and socially responsible goes hand in hand with running a profitable business.
The LCA results show that REPEAT® Materials carbon footprint is significantly reduced (87%) compared to the competing products which perform the same function available on the market.
Interested in the entire process? Read our detailed LCA for the full story.
WHAT we aim for
REPEAT® Materials aims to work on the cradle-to-gate portion of our life cycle to reduce its environmental impact while keeping the bar straight on the product’s functionality. The target of REPEAT® materials is to produce a solid layer of 90+ % recycled PET by 2023.
Besides, REPEAT® Materials sustainability priorities aims to align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs aim to make significant progress on global economic, social, and environmental challenges by 2030.
At REPEAT materials, we aim to contribute to SDG 11 to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Since the entire panel is rPET, it can be recycled without any complex sorting or separating processes. Any discarded panels or cutting waste can easily be recycled into new panels, bottles or other PET products. In this way, we reduce the total urban solid waste generated by cities.
At REPEAT Materials we aim to contribute to SDG 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. All our panels consist entirely of at least 75% recycled PET plastic. Beside, the target of REPEAT materials is to produce a 90+ % recycled PET by 2023. In this way we contribute to sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
At REPEAT Materials we aim to contribute to SDG 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. We quantifies our impacts to address our sustainability and environmental protection, Our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results show that REPEAT Materials carbon footprint is significantly reduced (87%) compared to the main competitive panels. In this way we integrate climate change measures into our policies, strategies and planning.