PVC Recycling Grows in Europe

VinylPlus reports more than 360,000 metric tons of PVC plastic scrap in Europe was recycled in 2012.

May 8, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

VinylPlus has released a report showing that a record 362,076 metric tons of PVC plastic was recycled in 2012. In a release, the organization notes that the recycling level reached is keeping it on track to meet its goal of recycling 800,000 metric tons of PVC per year by 2020. The report was released during the Vinyl Sustainability Forum 2013, held in late April in Istanbul.

The organization notes that 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.

The organization adds that technologies to recycle difficult-to-treat PVC waste are being evaluated and efforts have been made to address the "legacy additives" issue related to the presence of restricted chemicals in recycled PVC.

In a statement, Filipe Constant, VinyPlus’ chairman, said 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 its report, VinylPlus noted that it has seen a 76.37 percent decrease in lead stabilizer consumption in the EU-27 compared to 2007 levels, which is well on track to complete the substitution by the end of 2015. The new audit on the PVC Industry Charters showed a 96 percent full compliance.

VinylPlus adds that a number of its taskforces are 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 U.K. expert certification body BRE.

“It is quite impressive to see such a dynamic value chain working together to make the entire industry and its products more sustainable,” says Reha Gür, vice president, Turkish Plastics Manufacturers Association (PAGDER). “As most of Europe and the world are experiencing difficult economic times, this is even more admirable. We are honored to host the Vinyl Sustainability Forum in Istanbul and hope the work of VinylPlus can help inspiring our country’s PVC companies large and small to move a step closer to the principles and goals behind this program.”

Speaking at the Forum, Ambassador Tomas Anker Christensen, senior advisor at the United Nations Office for Partnerships, notes, “Partnerships are a key enabler for achieving progress on agreed development goals, including sustainable development. VinylPlus has demonstrated success and we are keen to see how the European industry challenges itself to be more ambitious and concrete in addressing identified challenges."

The full report can be accessed at http://www.vinylplus.eu/uploads/Progress%20report%202013/VinylPlus_-_AR2012_-_LONG_-_V17.pdf