The Vinyl Council of Australia has entered a five-year commitment to reduce the environmental impact of PVC.
The voluntary deal with Environment Australia, a federal body, is designed to promote responsibility in the production, use and disposal of PVC products.
VCA is an industry body formed to coordinate the PVC industry's response to environmental issues. David Kemp, federal environment minister, said there are potential environmental and health concerns about the production of PVC resin and products and their end-of-life disposal.
The Australian PVC industry already had voluntarily removed lead stabilizers from PVC used to manufacture potable-water pipes and participated in a program to grind PVC bottles into powder for floor tiles and pipe fittings. The new plan includes establishing a program to recycle scrap pipe.
``Current levels of PVC recycling are low, largely because 80 percent of products last between 15 years and 100 years, but recycling opportunities need to be explored as PVC products reach the end of their useful life,'' Kemp said.
Rob Faulkner, VCA's former executive director and chief operating officer, chaired a reference panel that developed the terms during the past 15 months.
He said the committee also will monitor overseas research on phthalate plasticizers, and will try ``never [to] knowingly use phthalates where there is good scientific evidence that it is unsafe.''
Firms involved with the project will form a technical steering committee that will include an Environment Australia representative and an independent scientific expert.
Faulkner resigned from VCA at its annual general meeting Nov. 27 and Sophi MacMillan, former company secretary, was elected chief operating officer.