The Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) and the Specialised Textiles Association (STA) say they have secured Australian government grant funding of nearly AUD$350,000 ($256,000) to further research into the recycling of end-of-life polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyester (PES) composite textile products in Australia.
The two associations’ TexBack project is one of 15 grant applications (out of a total 190 submissions) to receive that level of funding from the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (NPSIF). The government’s funding program was launched to promote and stimulate shared action for “everyday products with a focus on working to reduce waste generation and increased resource recovery,” according to the VCA.
VCA describes TexBack as an industry-driven initiative that aims to recycle PVC-PES composite textile products and scrap that are most commonly not recovered in Australia.
The grant will fund the development of the business case for a national product stewardship scheme for textiles such as grain covers, tarpaulins, advertising banners, tents and marquees, roofing and grounds sheets, truck tarps, marine fabrics, swimming pool liners and upholstery fabrics, says VCA.
The project covers a range of activities, including testing of a new chemical separation technology, that will enable the specialized textiles and vinyl sectors to address the growing concerns of discarded materials ending up in landfill.
The NPSIF has projected 1.5 million metric tons of scrap can be diverted from landfill through the initiative and will further boost the economy by creating more than 560 potential jobs.
“TexBack will build on earlier VCA-led research into potential recycling options of PVC coated fabrics conducted over the past four years,” says Jan van de Graaff, the VCA’s PVC stewardship manager.
“This grant now gives VCA and STA a real opportunity to collaborate to engage the textile sector in developing a viable scheme for recovery and reprocessing of this waste stream, particularly as there is a potential end-use for the material that will lead to manufacturing of a completely new durable building product in Australia,” adds van de Graaff.
Comments Ana Drougas of the STA, “We are excited to be working with the VCA in an Australian first project to pilot the introduction of innovative and uniquely Australian world-leading PVC separation technology.”