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Reducing energy bills, condensation and noise pollution are the main considerations for the growing number of UK households opting to install secondary glazing panels however there are other safety and environmental issues to consider for customers.

The majority of secondary glazing panels sold in the UK are manufactured from acrylic (more commonly known as Perspex) with Ecoease being the only supplier of PET (Polyester) panels.

Whilst there is no obvious difference in terms of clarity, there are significant differences in terms of how the three plastics compare in fire tests and in terms of recyclability.

Ecoease Director John Feely explained: “Independent fire tests conducted on acrylic, polycarbonate and PET plastic panels reveal some big causes for concern. Acrylic acts like a fire lighter and melts in seconds giving off poisonous Hydrogen Cyanide and Carbon Monoxide.  Polycarbonate , which is used occasionally for glazing, has less toxicity but drips flames when burnt, thus contributing to the fire.

“When it comes to PET, however, when in a fire situation, the material crystallises and turns white. This means it can withstand temperatures of up to 250 degrees C which explains why crystallised PET is used in oven dishes for ready meals and why it has the best fire rating of any available clear plastic.

“In an ideal world we would like to see PET used as standard for all secondary glazing applications. It makes total sense from a safety perspective,” added John.

In addition PET is classed as the most recyclable plastic available with a rating of one on the scale of 1 to 7 used for the recycling performance of plastics. Acrylic and polycarbonate, by stark contrast, are the most difficult plastics to recycle with a rating of 7.

John concluded: “Not only is Ecoease secondary glazing one of the most cost effective ways of insulating homes but it also delivers peace of mind in terms of safety in the event of a fire and is the best plastic glazing solution currently available for the planet.”

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