Canada's vinyl processing industry is being monitored for responsible treatment of tin-based heat stabilizers widely used in rigid PVC.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association signed an agreement with Canada's federal environment agency a year ago for the monitoring program and three vinyl processing sites will be chosen in April to re-verify compliance with guidelines in the agreement.
The guideline addresses in-plant handling methods for tin stabilizers and their packaging. The goal is to prevent any release of tin stabilizers to the environment because certain stabilizers may cause harmful effects to aquatic organisms. Heat stabilizers are needed to scavenger hydrochloric acid released during vinyl processing. The acid can accelerate degradation of vinyl. Tin stabilizers are the most effective type of stabilizer is some vinyl applications, according to the guideline. They have been used since the mid-1960s in processing rigid and chlorinated PVC.
The guideline is a voluntary stewardship initiative developed jointly by the Vinyl Council, industry users and the federal Environmental Management Program, according to guideline documents.
The five-year agreement “will ensure the continued implementation of Guidelines for the Environmental Management of Tin Stabilizers in Canada, thereby preventing releases of tin stabilizers into the aquatic environment,” said CPIA President and CEO Carol Hochu.
The agreement, which ends in 2020, is an extension of an earlier agreement CPIA signed with Ottawa in 2008. In total, the agreement covers 32 sites in Canada that extrude PVC pipe, profiles and siding, as well as compounders. Three sites have been verified so far and an additional three sites will be chosen in each of the remaining years of the agreement. The federal agency, formerly called Environment Canada, was been renamed Environment and Climate Change Canada to reflect priorities of the federal Environment Ministry following the election of a new Canadian government in October.
Hochu said in a phone interview that the tin stabilizer project is one of the programs underway in CPIA's Vinyl Council. Another is managing test pilots for recycling of post-consumer vinyl siding and pipe. The council also reports that its Intelligent Plastics campaign has extended its partnership with TV personality Scott McGillivray, who hosts the Income Property TV program. McGillivray, a contractor and real estate investor, has been promoting on his program the use of vinyl products for renovation.
“It is a high-profile marketing program that will build strong consumer demand for the material in many applications,” Hochu explained from CPIA's head office in Mississauga, Ontario.
CPIA and Vinyl Institute
Hochu stressed CPIA continues to represent Canadian vinyl businesses after the recent founding of the Vinyl Institute of Canada and VI Canada's merger with the Washington, D.C.-based Vinyl Institute. Some vinyl businesses continue to be members of CPIA's Vinyl Council after joining VI Canada. She did not disclose the council's members, citing competitive reasons.
Hochu said CPIA is open to working with VI Canada, and in any event both associations are working with Environment and Climate Change Canada on the tin stabilizer monitoring program.
“Government advocacy is a lot of what we do on the council,” Hochu noted. Current efforts in that vein include lobbying the Regional Municipality of Peel, west of Toronto, to gain acceptance of large PVC pipe.
VI Canada is headed by chairman Veso Sobot, an executive with Montreal-based vinyl pipe major Ipex Inc., and president Aiñe Curran, a lobbyist who had been hired by CPIA in 2014 as director general of issues.
Sobot, Curran and Hochu declined to explain in detail why VI Canada was established.