Consolidation of collection and recycling schemes in Europe’s PVC industry has led to 257,084 tonnes of the material being recycled in 2011 – the first year in a new ten-year sustainability initiative, VinylPlus.
Launched in June 2011, and developed with the input and guidance of international NGO The Natural Step (TNS), VinylPlus sets an “ambitious” set of new targets for sustainable development.
This includes voluntary commitments to recycle 800,000 tonnes of PVC per year by 2020, of which 100,000 tonnes should be treated by innovative technologies to tackle applications that have posed a challenge for recycling up to now.
“The industry remains fully committed to the targets we have set and we are encouraged by progress made in the first year of the new programme in a very difficult economic climate,” says VinylPlus general manager Stefan Eingaertner.
“Reaching our goals requires active support down the PVC value chain and a policy environment across Europe which continues to incentivise the diversion of waste from landfill and demand for recycled goods.”
The industry organisation says progress has also been made towards ensuring the sustainable use of additives. Compared to 2007, the consumption of lead stabilisers decreased by 71.4% in the 27 EU nations by 2011, and “remains on track for complete substitution” by 2015.
The trend has been supported by the corresponding growth in the use of calcium as an alternative organic stabiliser.
In the framework of VinylPlus, the PVC industry has also confirmed its commitment to saving resources and minimising the industry’s impact, as well as the conviction that innovation is “fundamental to the industry’s progress towards sustainability”.
The VinylPlus programme is built around five commitments aimed at:
- achieving a “quantum leap” in recycling rates of PVC and the development of innovative recycling technologies;
- addressing concerns about organochlorine emissions;
- ensuring the sustainable use of additives;
- enhancing energy efficiency and the use or renewable energy and raw materials in PVC production, and;
- promoting sustainability throughout the whole PVC value chain.