The importance of PVC recycling
The majority of PVC products have a pretty long life. This means a higher efficiency using natural resources. The PVC products then need little maintenance, resulting in economic and environmental saving. Thanks to the low presence of carbon (< 40%) PVC is the one plastic that less contributes to CO2 emission. LCA eco-efficiency studies on the main PVC application demonstrate that GER and GWP levels on PVC are compared to those from other alternative materials. Actually, on various occasions, PVC behaves in a better way: less CO2 emissions and less energetic usage. As a consequence, the PVC applications have received by international environmental research and certification authorities excellent evaluations in terms of environmental performance and sustainability. In addition, PVC is classified as a “NON-HAZARDOUS” substance by the European Reach Regulation on chemicals.
During the last decades, the PVC European sector put a tangible effort to increase recycling levels. The main recycling types are: Mechanical recycle: it means to reduce the PVC item into scaps in order to proceed with the blending and the production; Chemical recycle: it means to break the PVC product up into the parts it is made of until the same starting original resin is created; Energetic recycle: it means to recover the energy still available on PVC waste thanks to the waste-to-energy process.
FROM 2000 TO 2010
The first voluntary commitment that involved the actors of the PVC supply chain was Vinyl2010, a ten-year program born with the intention of evaluating and supporting the recovery of this material on a large scale. This project was set very specific objectives, including: replacement of lead stabilizers by 2015, recovery, by 2010, of 200,000 tons of post-consumer PVC, research and development on new recovery technologies.
FROM 2010 TO 2020
In 2010, Vinyl2010 was replaced by VinylPlus, a new ten-year program that set itself, among the main objectives, to recover 800,000 tons of PVC by 2020. Studies conducted by major international research centers have shown that recycling PVC also leads to benefits such as: energy saving, less CO2 pollution, jobs created, and in detail: energy savings of up to -90% compared to the production of virgin PVC; 2 kg less CO2 released into the environment per kg of PVC recovered; 2 jobs created in the recovery plants for every tonne of PVC recovered.
FROM 2020 TO 2030
VinylPlus 2030 is the new ten-year commitment of the European PVC industry to sustainable development. It is based on more than 20 years of progress and concrete results achieved by the European PVC supply chain. With its renewed commitment, VinylPlus wants to actively contribute to addressing global sustainability challenges and priorities. The VinylPlus 2030 Commitment was developed ‘bottom-up’, through in-house workshops and with an open stakeholder consultation process. 3 ‘pathways’ and 12 ‘areas of action’ have been identified that embrace the circularity of the PVC supply chain, its progress towards carbon neutrality, minimisation of the environmental footprint of PVC production processes and products, as well as collaboration with global stakeholders and alliances.