Kudos to European PVC Industry Sustainable Development Program

VinylPlus recycled nearly 1.2 billion pounds of PVC in 2016.

Via the framework of VinylPlus, the Europe and PVC industry sustainable development program, recycling of PVC last year moved up to a new high—nearly 1.2 billion pounds (600,000 tonnes). These results were announced April 25, in Brighton, UK at PVC 2017 by Brigitte Dero, VinylPlus general manager who opened the conference.

This triennial event is the world’s largest PVC forum, providing information, education, debate and discussion on key topics for the industry.

Speaking on opening day, Dero highlighted the achievements of the VinylPlus Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development over the past two decades noting that it had helped to turn PVC from “the black sheep in the plastics family to a pioneer” and a material of choice.

Since 2000, a cumulative total of over 7 billion pounds of PVC has been recycled thanks to VinylPlus’ efforts. The largest volumes are from window profiles, followed by cables and flexible applications, pipes, and fittings. The target is to recycle 1.6 billion pounds per year by 2020.

VinylPlus reportedly places paramount importance on the safety and quality of recycled PVC, which is supported by traceability and certification schemes to recyclates. With recycling increasing each year, work is underway to include schemes like EuCertPlast as standard criteria for secondary raw materials.

It is believed that this would stimulate demand and help to prevent the loss of these valuable materials from a circular economy.  (EuCertPlast Audit Scheme is a project for establishing European certification for post-consumer plastics recyclers. The organization has defined requirements based on the European Standard EN 15343 and aims to encourage recycling of plastics with environmentally-friendly practices, particularly focusing on the process of traceability and conformity assessment and recycled content.)

Other recent achievements by VinylPlus include the development of an Additive Sustainability Framework (ASF)—a new science-based system for assessing the sustainable use of additives in PVC products. The first ASF is almost complete for window profiles.

Dero noted that VinylPlus provides solutions to a number of issues highlighted in the EU discussion on Plastics Strategy and the vision that ‘all plastics should be designed, manufactured and used in a sustainable manner, which increasing their durability’. Dero said:

“Our journey continued to address all concerns and engage the PVC industry towards sustainability as a whole through a number of critical challenges in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland.” 

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