VinylPlus, the European PVC industry sustainable development programme, had a record 362,076 tonnes of PVC recycled last year, keeping it on track to meet the challenge of recycling 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020. A more comprehensive and wider scope for what constitutes ’recycled PVC’ has been adopted to include post-consumer and limited types of post-industrial PVC, as well as some of the regulated waste streams in the EU.
Innovative technologies to recycle difficult-to-treat PVC waste are under currently evaluation and significant efforts were made to address the ‘legacy additives’ issue related to the presence of restricted chemicals in recycled PVC.
According to VinylPlus Chairman Filipe Constant, the industry “is effectively moving from a model of resource consumption that follows a ‘take-make-use-throw away’ linear pattern into a truly circular economy model which puts end-of-life materials back into the production stream extending the added-value of PVC’s inherent durability and versatility.”
In 2012 VinylPlus registered a decrease of 76.37% in lead stabiliser consumption in the EU-27 compared to 2007 levels, well on track to complete the substitution by the end of 2015. The new audit on the ‘PVC Industry Charters’ showed a 96% full compliance.
A number of VinylPlus taskforces are fully operational, studying how to incorporate renewable energy and raw materials, the sustainable use of additives and the environmental footprint of PVC production. A VinylPlus product label concept for PVC products has been developed in collaboration with The Natural Step – an NGO providing input and guidance for the development of the VinylPlus programme – and the UK expert certification body BRE.