A Sydney-based environmental group and Australia's leading PVC supplier plan to work together to reverse the declining recycling rate for PVC bottles.
Sorting problems have reduced the PVC bottle recycling rate in Australian metropolitan areas from 5 percent in 1999 to 2 percent. The sorting problem is significant, because households in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide put out 30 percent of their PVC bottles for curbside recycling, but only one in 15 of those bottles ends up being recycled, according to Brian Scarsbrick, chief executive officer of environmental group Landcare Australia.
Some 20 million PVC bottles collected in curbside programs went to landfills last year, Scarsbrick said.
``It is an important environmental issue, particularly when recycling programs are in place, to find out why only 2 percent of PVC bottles ... are being recycled,'' he said.
Scarsbrick said manufacturers have developed commercial applications for PVC recyclate, including floor tiles, drain pipes and packaging. But, he said, ``They cannot get enough to go into these products as there are simply not enough bottles being recycled.''
Sydney-based Landcare has partnered with Melbourne-based Australian Vinyls Corp. to work with major sorters to try to increase the recycling rates, and to get more sorters involved.
Rob Faulkner, AVC general manager, environmental affairs, said the reduced recycling rate was ``an unfortunate setback for industry efforts to increase the recycling rate of PVC bottles from 5 percent to 25 percent.''
According to AVC, prices offered for curbside PVC have increased by between A$32 and A$86 per ton (US$16.64-US$44.72) since November 2000.