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Europe council talks PVC recycling, exports

By: Satnam Singh

May 10, 2013

MUMBAI -- PVC demand in Europe overall has dropped 5-7 percent annually since 2007 and a rebound is not expected soon, according to the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers. However, Eastern Europe holds promise.

“Interestingly, production of PVC is growing in the eastern part of Europe due to widespread construction projects. Turkey is among the key markets in Europe where lots of construction is going on,” said Brigitte Dero, general manager of the council.

In 2007, 15.2 billion pounds of PVC was made in Europe, she said.

“It may take a minimum of five years or even more than that to regain the earlier ground,” Dero said.

When asked if Europe is exporting PVC to other markets, she replied, “We may export in small quantity; we have to look beyond to other markets. We have overcapacity and look for exports to markets like Croatia, Turkey, eastern parts of Europe and in the future to Asia.”

She added, “Currently, there is no export of PVC to Asia — only finished products like profiles.”

India also could be a big market for exports “as there is limited production capacity, and the PVC industry is more dependent on imports.”

While PVC use is increasing in Asia and Eastern Europe because of widespread construction programs, there is a lack of recycling and sustainable development efforts, Dero noted.

Overall, however, Europe recycled almost 800 million pounds of PVC waste in 2012 under its VinylPlus program, and aims to recycle 1.8 million pounds annually by 2020, according to Dero. VinyPlus is managed by a comprehensive board representing all of Europe’s PVC industry sectors.

In Europe, about $90 million was spend in the past decade to recycle PVC, Dero said, and there are plans to spend around $6.5 million annually for the next 10 years “to achieve maximum sustainable development in the PVC business.”