More than 500,000 tonnes of PVC recycled in 2015


VinylPlus, the European PVC industry sustainable development programme, says that 514,913 tonnes of PVC was recycled last year, of which window profiles and related profile products accounted for around 45%. The greatest volumes - 508,154 tonnes – were registered and certified by Recovinyl (www.recovinyl.com), the PVC waste collection and recycling network comprising 177 companies Europe-wide. The target is to recycle 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

The 2015 results were presented at the 4th Vinyl Sustainability Forum 2016 in Vienna, Austria, where the industry shared its major successes, notably the replacement of lead-based stabilisers in the EU-28 market.

Welcoming the 130 delegates, VinylPlus Chairman Josef Ertl said: “European cities are forerunners in the transition towards a low carbon and resource-efficient economy. 72% of the EU population lives in urban areas, using 70% of our energy. To assure quality of life, future cities will need healthy and energy-efficient buildings, reliable water distribution and sewage systems, as well as affordable healthcare. With our NGO partner The Natural Step, we will revisit our Voluntary commitment and highlight the relevance and sustainability aspects of PVC products in 21st century cities.”


Explaining the main outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) and the Paris Climate Summit (COP21), Stephan Sicars, Director Department of Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) said: “The shift of emphasis to designing products and processes for sustainability offers the plastics and PVC industry many opportunities to capitalise on innovation, as well as consumer demands for better environmental performance and smaller environmental footprint of products. These trends are said to allow US$3 trillion in potential resource savings by 2030 amid an emerging US$1 trillion global ‘green’ market.”

He went on to say that a circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. “The PVC production chain is making progress globally by reducing its environmental impact in areas such as chlor-alkaline production, energy and mercury use and VCM production. In addition, there are excellent developments in different regions and in Europe, especially,” adds Sicars.

VinylPlus General Manager Brigitte Dero highlighted lead-based stabiliser replacement as a ‘historic achievement’. This means, from 2016, products made from virgin PVC resin by European converters no longer contain lead, which is a major achievement by the European Stabiliser Producers Association (ESPA - www.stablisers.eu)

VinylPlus reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the issue of ‘legacy additives’ in recycled PVC in cooperation with regulatory authorities and is calling to propose realistic solutions for the continuation and development of PVC recycling, taking into account its resource efficiency benefits.

VinylPlus is also intensifying its discussions with institutions in a committed effort to help find solutions amid ongoing concern from recyclers and converters over uncertainties in the implementation of relevant EU regulations, such as REACH, CLP and Hazardous Waste.

Christos Fragakis, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission spoke about the new EU R&I policy initiative to promote the deployment of solutions to address the complex, but highly interconnected urban challenges and underpin cities’ transition towards sustainability and enhanced resilience to changes.

He also updated delegates on the new Circular Economy Package (endorsed in December 2015), the upcoming Plastics Strategy and the potential contributions of Horizon 2020 in underpinning innovation in all its forms.

VinylPlus is the renewed ten-year Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry. The programme establishes a long-term framework for the sustainable development of the PVC industry by tackling a number of critical challenges in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland.


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