Green Plumbing

Environmental Consideration

In general, there are two parts to the environmental consideration of a product:

  • The negative impact on the environment during manufacture and use of the product, and whether it can be recycled.
  • The 'sustainability' of the product – how long the product can be used before replacement is required.

Buteline engineer and develop our PB-1 system with this in mind:

  • Ability to supply no-contact-with-metals system » Hygienic, non-toxic safe system to use
  • Recycle, re-grind, re-use » Less wastage, less impact on the environment
  • Local production and reduced energy required for production » Reduced fuel use, reduced carbon emissions, less pollution
  • The environmentally-better choice

Less Damaging to the Environment

From raw materials to finished products, Buteline keeps in mind the environment and our production processes aim to minimise wastage.

Creation of polymer fittings and pipe is far less energy intensive and less damaging to the environment than the creation of metallic fittings and pipe, as can be seen from the below table:

The Lifecycle Stages of a Product
Lifestyle Stage Material of Product 
  Metallic Polymer
Sourcing of Raw Material Ore mining Crude oil extraction
Processing of Raw Material Metal refining Oil refining / cracking
Production of Material Smelting Polymerisation
Manufacture of Pipe Rolling Extrusion
Manufacture of Fittings Casting, reshaping Injection moulding
Installation of Plumbing System Soldering, crimping Welding, clamping, gluing, push assembly
Life Expectancy of Installation Not standardised Minimium of 50 years

With polymers, there is less need for land-scarring quarrying activities and where only about 1-2% of metal is extracted from the ore, 100% of crude oil is able to be converted into usable products.

In addition, the refining and smelting of metals takes far more energy than the refining of oil and the polymerisation of polymers.

Polybutene-1 (PB-1) is one such material produced from polymerisation of a derivative from the refining of crude oil, using a high-yield low-temperature catalyst process.

The temperatures required for the production of pipes and fittings from polymers is much lower than that required for metals (the temperatures commonly being above the melting / softening points of the materials).

Thus less energy is used to produce each unit of finished product in the case of polymer materials (as shown below).

Amount of Energy Required to Manufacture 1 Litre of Material

Considerable Durability Reduces Waste

Buteline polymer fittings and pipe are strong and durable – and it is their durable nature which ensures a long product lifetime of over 50 years.

This keeps pipes and fittings out of ‘the waste stream’, reducing the need to frequently replace / re-use / recycle / dump them, and this in turn prevents waste and the additional use of resources.

Environmentally Friendly Transport, Installation & Use

Buteline pipe and fittings are manufactured and tested in New Zealand to high engineering and quality standards that meet and exceed international industry standards.

Local production coupled with the lightness of polymers – as raw material granules or as thermoplastic fittings and PB-1 pipes – are better for the environment as for a given weight, more polymer material or finished goods can be freighted in a single load in comparison to metallic material / finished goods, thereby reducing fuel use, carbon emissions and pollution.


Recycle, Regrind & Re-use

Thermoplastics (such as Buteline fittings mouldings) are able to be recycled due to their chemical structure, allowing many cycles of heating, forming, and repeated re-heating and re-forming.

Less energy is required for recycling polymers in comparison to recycling metals and clean uncontaminated waste of the same origin and purity is preferred.

Production processes involved in manufacturing the Buteline Plumbing System allow for in-house ‘closed loop’ recycling of materials. For instance, waste from the moulding process of Buteline fittings (such as sprues), or production waste from machinery startups and shutdowns are reground for re-use in the factory.

Polyolefins like Polybutene-1 (from which Buteline pipes are made) can also be reground (mechanically recycled) and re-used.

A study conducted by the Technical University of Berlin found that compared to the other polymer systems, the Polybutene-1 piping system consumed 50% less energy in terms of production and installation, and was distinctly more favourable than the metal systems.

The study also found that in terms of resulting emissions in soil, water and air, Polybutene-1 had the least impact on the environment.



A 100% Polymer (No Brass) Plumbing System

Buteline pipe and fittings do not corrode or leach harmful substances, do not get scale build-up, and do not affect water taste or quality.

We have also developed several polymer alternatives to traditional brass fittings that are not only environmentally-better but also give you potential cost saving of up to 45%! 

Polymers are free from toxic substances like arsenic and lead, while it is widely established that lead is often added to brass for enhanced machinability during manufacture. Polymers therefore not only offer peace of mind in terms of hygiene and health, but are also arguably better for the environment.

Concerns in the United States have led to a bill in California being passed for brass pipes, fittings and fixtures to be ‘lead-free’ (contain less than 0.25% lead), starting from January 1, 2010 (Free, M., Production Machining, May 09).

In response to this, some manufacturers have been using substitute ingredients such as silicon or bismuth. While these are allegedly less toxic than lead, they are more expensive, and scraps that contain these additions are not be mixed with leaded brass scrap during the recycling process due to safety and contamination issues.

Some typical compositions of brass are shown as below:

Trust in your 100% polymer system - the Buteline Plumbing System is a proven hygienic, non-toxic, environmentally friendly solution for the conveyance of clean drinking water.

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