The 481,000 metric tons of PVC recycled across Europe in 2014 contributed to around 1,000 jobs in recycling plants, according to VinylPlus, the sustainable development program of the European PVC industry.
As well as creating employment opportunities, PVC recycling is also saving around one million metric tons of carbon emissions annually.
The figures are calculated on an average of one employee needed to recycle 500 tonnes of PVC per year and a 2 kilogram saving of CO2 for each kilogram of PVC that is recycled. Energy demand for recycling PVC is typically around 90 percent lower than virgin PVC production.
Waste PVC materials, such as rigid PVC films, pipes and fittings, window profiles and related products, as well as flexible PVC ( for cables, membranes and flooring) were recycled through the European-wide network of 155 Recovinyl-accredited recyclers.
A total of 11.8 million window frames are recycled per year.
Speaking at the recent Brussels Sustainable Development Summit, Arjen Sevenster, technical and environmental affairs manager for the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers, highlighted how voluntary commitments, such as VinylPlus, which put together the entire European PVC value chain, can address sustainability challenges in a systemic and holistic way, helping to move an industry sector towards a low-carbon circular economy.
He said: “We are addressing sustainability as a whole through a range of actions including waste management, sustainable use of additives and reducing energy consumption.
“For example, from 2007 to 2013 there was a 10.2 percent decrease in energy consumption to produce one tonne of PVC. Resin producers are targeting a 20 percent reduction of energy consumption by 2020.”