DYKA, a leading European manufacturer of plastic pipework systems and member of the Tessenderlo Group, has launched the world’s first piping system made of bioplastic, under the name DYKA Bioplastic.
LThis first product in the company’s new Bioplastic line is a rainwater piping system designed for residential buildings, both new build and existing homes.
The new pipes and accessories are made of a durable, non-biodegradable PLA derived from sugar beet and developed in collaboration with Netherlands-based lactic and polylactic acid producer Corbion Purac. DYKA aims to further broaden the application options for the use of bioplastic materials within the construction industry in the future, in order to contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable building and construction industry supply chain.
“It’s an exciting development”, said Barry Kooistra, product manager at DYKA. “PLA is derived from renewable sources and has a smaller carbon footprint than conventional oil-based materials. Moreover, the pipe systems made from PLA bioplastic are comparable to those made of PVC: the material is very strong, and has a long service life. It’s a completely new development in the construction industry.”
For DYKA, PLA further extends the existing array of materials, such as PVC, PP and PE, already used by the company.
Is the new Bioplastic pipe system more expensive than one made from these conventional plastics? Kooistra: “Yes, it is, because the raw material is more expensive, and obviously, material costs determine to a large extent the price of a product – any product. However, we have found that the construction industry is starting to look differently at materials and material costs. It’s no longer just price that matters; the market and consumers are starting to demand greener products, and project developers, especially those operating in the higher segments of the market, are now willing to invest in delivering more sustainable houses.”
According to Kooistra, bioplastic is the material of the future. “This material will enable us to further enhance the sustainability of the building and construction industry supply chain. The choice of material can have a real impact on waste streams,” he said. “Plus, it enables us to respond to the changing demands of consumers and the construction sector as a whole, as well as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It’s a great example of how DYKA can use their knowhow and expertise to contribute to a more sustainable sector.”
DYKA spent a number of years researching and developing a high-quality bioplastic end product. The material and the new downpipe system has been extensively tested in accordance with the most stringent requirements and guidelines and is now ready for the official market launch. The application possibilities, said Kooistra, are ‘extensive’. The company also plans to roll out new products in the DYKA Bioplastic line in the future. In addition, Kooistra mentioned that the company would be looking at the possibilities offered by bioplastics other than PLA, as well.
What about the end of life? According to Kooistra, DYKA is seriously looking at the possibility a recycling program for PLA. “But that’s a process that will need some time – we’ve only just launched our first product. We may have to collaborate with parties outside the construction sector to get the scale needed to start up a recycling program. That all remains to be seen, but it’s something we are certainly going to pursue.”
The DYKA Bioplastic piping system will be introduced in May 2016 in the Dutch and Belgian market.