PVC recycling on the rise in Europe

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Axion Consulting Post-consumer PVC window frames ready for recycling through Axion Consulting.

PVC recycling in Europe climbed more than 20 percent in 2013 according to new figures from Recovinyl, the PVC industry’s recycling organization.

A total of 435,083 metric tons of waste PVC was recycled through Recovinyl across the group’s 16 member countries. That is up from 354,173 metric tons in 2012.

Germany contributed 133,262 metric tons to the total, with the United Kingdom accounting for 88,648 metric tons and Spain the third largest contributor with 38,678 metric tons.

Jane Gardner, project manager at Axion Consulting, Recovinyl’s U.K. agent in Branhall, England, said the U.K. had made a “significant contribution to the success of PVC recycling, thanks to ongoing commitment from the sector and sustained investment in recycling infrastructure across the country.”

Potential new recycling opportunities for PVC included non-infectious medical PVC waste from hospitals, such as IV fluid and oxygen bags.

This type of waste is the focus of a new VinylPlus-funded research project undertaken jointly by Axion Consulting and the British Plastics Federation’s Vinyls Group.

“We are now looking to collect and recycle PVC from new sources, such as non-pharmacologically active waste from hospitals,” said Gardner.

“Trials would be based on a successful Australian study, and we would be interested to hear from organizations looking to explore these recycling options, such as medical and care organizations,” she added.

Gardner said the latest figures showed PVC recycling was maintaining its upward trend with demand continuing to grow for good quality recycled material that could be reused in a variety of new products.

Waste PVC-U profiles comprised 50,421 tonnes of the U,K,’s recycling effort in 2013, with pipes, rigid and flexible PVC films and cables making up the rest.

Recovinyl is the operational arm of VinylPlus, a 10-year voluntary commitment of the European PVC industry.

One of the voluntary commitment’s aims is to recycle 800,000 tonnes of waste PVC by 2020.