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Europe records PVC recycling growth in 2014

Europe – The UK contributed 20% or 95 525 tonnes to the total volume of PVC recycled in Europe last year, according to the Recovinyl programme. Waste PVC-U profiles accounted for just over half of the UK’s recycling achievement in 2014, with pipes, rigid and flexible PVC films and cables making up the rest.

Recovinyl, the operational arm of the voluntary VinylPlus initiative, reports that a total of 474 411 tonnes of waste PVC was recycled across 16 European countries last year. ‘PVC recycling continues to grow, as revealed by these latest figures, and the UK’s achievement is testament to both ongoing commitment from the sector and sustained investment in recycling infrastructure across the country,’ says Jane Gardner, project manager of Recovinyl’s UK agent Axion Consulting.

She adds: ‘Good-quality recycled material can be reused sustainably in so many diverse new products, from construction products such as windows, to flooring and electrical components. Demand from manufacturers is continuing to grow.’

Potential new recycling opportunities for PVC include non-infectious medical PVC waste from hospitals, such as IV fluid and oxygen bags. This type of waste is the focus of the VinylPlus-funded research project RecoMed undertaken jointly by Axion Consulting and the BPF Vinyls Group.

‘RecoMed is a newly-launched initiative collecting and recycling PVC from non-pharmacologically-active waste from hospitals,’ Gardner points out. ‘We welcome enquiries from organisations looking to explore these recycling options, such as medical and care organisations, as we expand this scheme.’

One of the objectives of the VinylPlus voluntary commitment is to recycle 800 000 tonnes of PVC waste per year by 2020; this includes 100 000 tonnes of difficult-to-recycle PVC through innovative recycling technologies.

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