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Holistic approach boosts PVC recycling in Europe

Europe – The 481 000 tonnes of waste PVC recycled across Europe in 2014 contributed to the creation of around 1000 direct jobs in recycling plants. In addition, PVC recycling is believed to save around 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. So concludes VinylPlus, the sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry.

According to Arjen Sevenster, technical and environmental affairs manager for the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers, voluntary commitments such as VinylPlus can address sustainability challenges ‘in a systemic and holistic way, helping to move an industry sector towards a low-carbon circular economy’.

Speaking at the recent Sustainable Development Summit in Brussels, Sevenster stressed that VinylPlus addresses 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% decrease in energy consumption to produce one tonne of PVC,’ he noted. ‘Resin producers are targeting a 20% reduction of energy consumption by 2020.’

Co-operation along the entire value chain is ‘a key element’ for success, he added, while ‘concrete and measurable targets and deadlines are also vital, along with stakeholder engagement, transparency and dialogue, plus the required research and development’.

In Europe, scrap PVC materials – such as rigid films, pipes/fittings, window profiles/related products, cables, membranes and flooring – are recycled through a continent-wide network of 155 Recovinyl-accredited recyclers. A total of 11.8 million window frames are recycled every year, it has been estimated.

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