Brussels — VinylPlus, the European PVC industry sustainable development programme, recycled 514,913 tonnes of PVC within its framework last year. The 2015 results were presented at its 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 delegates, VinylPlus Chairman Josef Ertl said: “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. Using PVC in place of other materials reduces costs, improves product performance and makes a positive contribution to sustainable development. 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.”
VinylPlus General Manager Brigitte Dero presented the 2015 results: In 2015, VinylPlus recycled 514,913 tonnes of PVC waste – an upward recycling trend of which window profiles and related profile products accounted for around 45 percent. The greatest volumes – 508,154 tonnes – were registered and certified by Recovinyl, the PVC waste collection and recycling network comprising 177 companies Europe-wide. The target is to recycle 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020.
And she 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. Brigitte Dero stated: “Undoubtedly, the highlight of the year for VinylPlus was the replacement of lead-based stabilisers in the EU-28 by the end of 2015. This major achievement by the European Stabiliser Producers Association concluded a challenging journey that saw close cooperation along the value chain to solve technical constraints.”
Stephan Sicars, Director Department of Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) explained: “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-$ three trillion in potential resource savings by 2030 amid an emerging US-$ one trillion global ‘green’ market.“
Reflecting on the Forum, Josef Ertl concluded: “Having heard some inspiring talks and presentations, I feel encouraged about the future of PVC as a material of choice offering numerous benefits for society which helps to serve people’s needs. We are well on track and on our way to the sustainable development goals we have set for PVC; making PVC a material of choice offering safe products, contributing to society welfare. Achieving this vision is worth all efforts in our industry. I encourage all of you to help us to contribute to this vision because it’s up to us to make it happen.”
More information on the Progress Report 2016 can be found at vinylplus.eu.