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GRP Sustainability

Is GRP a Sustainable Choice?

GRP is a far more environmentally friendly material than most people realise.

A material’s environmental impact relates to the entire value chain, from extracting the raw materials and the strain these activities put on the environment, to the transportation, production, further transport, assembly and erection of the final product.

  • Glass fibre production requires 75% less energy than steel production. The curing process is exothermic (gives off heat), which means the energy consumption per unit produced is extremely low
  • Glass fibre structures are 75% lighter than steel which means 50% less energy is required for transport and assembly
  • GRP’s CO2 equivalent is less than half that of concrete equivalents and approximately a third of the equivalent for steel which means its carbon footprint is favourable
  • Very few harmful by-products are created during production – pultrusion takes place in a fully closed process that minimises the evaporation of volatile compounds
  • The production of basic resins and fibre rovings does not have the same negative environmental impact as that of metals such as steel or aluminium
  • The resin used to make GRP is derived from a by-product of refined crude oil
  • Due in part to the high quality resins that are used, many GRP products have a service life of more than 50 years and even more than 100 years in some cases
  • GRP doesn’t require environmentally harmful finishing operations, such as hot-dip galvanising or painting (steel) or other preservation methods (such as those used for wood), in order to guarantee its service life

GRP is 100% Recyclable

According to the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA), GRP is 100% recyclable and can be reused in many different applications. GRP products can be professionally recycled to produce high-quality substitute fuels and reclaimed fibres. What’s more, processed GRP waste is a high-grade alternative for the cement industry where it is used both as a fuel and as a mineral raw material (SiO2).

Reducing our own Carbon Footprint

Where possible our installers are encouraged to travel to site via public transport or car share to reduce the level of pollution. Step on Safety vehicles have been fitted with trackers, so that we can plan and monitor the best routes. Material management plans and delivery schedules reduce onsite deliveries. By setting a pre-construction target, Step on Safety minimises the volume of onsite cutting, reducing the need for a diesel generator. Where possible, plant hire is electric and power tools are battery operated.
We use a 2D cutting calculator to ensure there is minimal wastage and any off cuts are used to create, brackets, cleats, fishplates, structural stair treads and packers.

Protecting the environment

We avoid the unnecessary use of hazardous materials and products, seek substitutions when feasible, taking all reasonable steps to protect human health and the environment. When such materials must be used, Step on Safety correctly stores and disposes of hazardous products. As part of our construction target, materials will be cut in-house at Step on Safety to reduce the volume of onsite cutting, this will decrease the amount of GRP dust exposed to the environment. Where cutting is necessary, GRP dust and waste is collected with m-class vacuums and extractors.

Sustainability & Environmental Policy

At Step on Safety we recognise that our operations can have significant economic, environmental and social impacts. We are committed to assessing sustainability risks and opportunities, and to taking appropriate steps to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive impacts for the benefit of our business, our stakeholders and the wider environment.

Step on Safety Ltd implements practices that promote environmental accountability and social responsibility and strives for continuous improvements in these areas. See our full Environmental Policy here.