BRUSSELS (July 25, 11:30 a.m. ET) — Last month, the European PVC industry unveiled a new set of objectives for sustainable development to 2020. The new VinylPlus program is based on five commitments that address concerns about organochlorine emissions, sustainable use of additives, energy efficiency, using renewable energy and raw materials in PVC production, and promoting sustainability throughout the value chain.
VinylPlus follows the industry's Vinyl 2010 initiative, which led to the industry collecting and recycling more than 250,000 metric tons of PVC every year.
“VinylPlus is a continuation of Vinyl 2010, which was a great success, so we are trying to continue these achievements. We met our first targets and are now looking at new targets and even more ambitious targets - we have five challenges to fulfill,” Chairman Josef Ertl told European Plastics News.
“We are looking at controlled loop management for more efficient use and control of PVC throughout its lifecycle, and at promoting sustainable technologies and reducing energy and raw material use,” Ertl said. “Another goal is reducing specific energy consumption by 20 percent.”
In terms of organochlorine emissions, VinylPlus will look at stopping these accumulating in nature. The program also will bring in risk assessment measures for transporting raw materials.
But perhaps the most ambitious goal is to recycle 800,000 metric tons of PVC per year. Ertl said about 100,000 metric tons will be difficult-to-recycle materials, such as contaminated materials.
The program also is working to develop markets for recycled PVC and to encourage demand from converters.
VinylPlus is introducing a label to show consumers which products contain recycled PVC, therefore using fewer natural resources.
Ertl said the industry is spending about 7 million to 8 million euros annually on the VinylPlus project.
“Not all companies in the value chain are contributing financially but they benefit from PVC's good image and the work of Vinyl 2010,” he said.