European PVC recycling scheme VinylPlus has recycled 6.5 million tonnes of PVC since its launch in 2000. The objective is to process 900 000 tonnes of PVC per year by 2025, so the organisation says in its Progress Report 2021.
Over the past two decades years, the European PVC industry, through VinylPlus, has made steady progress in terms of product stewardship, research into innovative technologies and improvement of the environmental footprint of PVC. Above all, advances have been made in recycling, with the set-up of collection and recycling schemes that were virtually non-existent twenty years ago.
Despite the challenges faced by the industry in 2020, VinylPlus still managed to recycle more than 730 000 tonnes of PVC into new products – above 91% of the programme’s 2020 target. Since 2000, the European PVC industry has recycled 6.5 million tonnes of PVC into new products – thus preventing the release of nearly 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – and created 1500 direct jobs in recycling plants.
The organisation also developed the VinylPlus Product Label. The label has been awarded to 128 PVC products. ‘The sustainability mark for PVC products in the building and construction sector not only provides specific criteria for more sustainable PVC production and us but also opens up discussion and stimulates producers to apply the principles through different approaches. It focuses on recycled content and upcycling potential but also contains aspects of demountability and even return policies,’ Stijn Brancart, Expert in Circular Construction at (VinylPlus member) VIBE.
Additionally, VinylPlus signed the Circular Plastics Alliance in 2019, the European Commission’s multi-stakeholder platform aimed at boosting the market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025, and chaired the Construction Working Group.
‘I am very pleased with the commitment and the proactive role of VinylPlus in the Circular Plastics Alliance,’ says Kirsi Ekroth-Manssila, Head of Unit, DG GROW, European Commission. ‘I am confident that with the cooperation of all the members of the Circular Plastics Alliance, and with the positive example set by VinylPlus – as an effective and successful cross-value chain platform – the overall outcome will be a success. VinylPlus is a perfect example of how to make the Circular Economy a reality, being the first value chain in 2000 to take on the challenge of transforming a problem into an opportunity.’
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