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European PVC industry meets ten-year targets on sustainable development: report

The European PVC industry has met the goals of "Vinyl 2010", a ten-year voluntary program launched in 2000 to enhance the sustainable production and use of PVC.


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June 28, 2011 by Canadian Plastics

The European PVC industry has met the goals of “Vinyl 2010”, a ten-year voluntary program launched in 2000 to enhance the sustainable production and use of PVC.

According to a report presented at the PVC 2011 conference in Brighton, UK, “huge advances” have been made by the industry over the past decade in waste management, innovative recycling technologies, stakeholder engagement, and responsible use of PVC additives.

“The achievements of Vinyl 2010 are particularly notable when it comes to collection and recycling,” the report said. “In 1999, there was no infrastructure for recycling of PVC in Europe and it was dismissed by many as an ‘unrecyclable’ material. Today, the audit results show that in the last year alone, 260,842 tons of unregulated post-consumer PVC waste were recycled by Vinyl 2010’s network of PVC recyclers across Europe – well beyond the initial goal of recycling an additional 200,000 tons on an annual basis by 2010.”

The report also noted that the phase out and replacement of certain additives from the PVC production process is ahead of schedule across the EU – with cadmium phased out quickly,  and lead substitution well ahead of schedule and on track to be replaced completely by 2015. “Other achievements of note include the ongoing development of innovative new technologies to expand the scope and volume of PVC recycling and the launch of a number of multi-stakeholder platforms to discuss and promote sustainable resource management,” the report continued. “In addition, major EU risk assessments on PVC plasticisers were completed and published by the European Commission and Member States with the support of producers.”

“Vinyl 2010 has been a clear success and is a perfect example of industry self-regulation working in practice,” said Josef Ertl, chairman of the Vinyl 2010 program. “It’s no exaggeration to say that it has helped to revolutionize the PVC value chain in Europe. It has allowed our sector to remain competitive while meeting the needs of society and has significantly enhanced PVC’s credentials and appeal as a material of choice for sustainable purchasing. Along the way, it has also contributed to the creation of a new recycling industry across Europe.”

The report also noted that the successor program for Vinyl 2010 – called VinylPlus – is already in place. “Building on the success of ‘Vinyl 2010’, the European PVC industry is committed to setting even more ambitious targets for the future,” it said. “For the past 12 months, the industry has been working with the globally respected Swedish sustainable development NGO, The Natural Step, to develop a progressive new commitment for the next ten years.”

Among the factors that will influence the success of the new VinylPlus initiative will be the active support of all companies in the PVC value chain, increased recognition of the market value of recycled PVC and ever greater efforts by public authorities and other stakeholders to divert waste from landfills, the report said.

For more on the VinylPlus program, visit this link.