A voluntary pledge to recycle 800,000 tonnes of PVC every year by 2020 has been made by the European Vinyl industry through its VinylPlus Programme.
The industry-backed programme aims for 100,000 tonnes of the total target to be treated by innovative technologies. It will also introduce certification to help users identify sources of recycled and sustainably produced PVC.
The European vinyl industry currently recycles around 250,000 tonnes of PVC every year. Before 2000 this material was seen by many as ‘unrecyclable’.
VinylPlus chairman Josef Ertl, has urged EU and UK policy makers to support these industry aims by, “stimulating recycling and use of recyclates through effective waste management and green procurement policies”.
He added: “Promoting a move towards zero landfill in Europe would help boost private investment in waste management and unlock the economic potential of the recycling sector.”
The programme also aims to “address concerns” about organochlorine emissions and ensure the sustainable use of additives. It will also try to improve energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy and raw materials. Lastly, it will promote sustainability up and down the PVC supply and manufacturing chain.
VinylPlus has been developed with guidance from The Natural Step (TNS), an international NGO promoting sustainable development.
TNS Executive Ambassador David Cook said the programme was a “rare example of an industry managing to turn itself around through voluntary action”.
He added: “People making procurement decisions generally welcome the chance to make better choices and to see suppliers responding actively to their needs and the sustainability standards they are working towards.
“With VinylPlus the industry is now setting itself even more challenging targets to meet the needs of society and further improve the credentials and appeal of PVC as a material of choice for sustainable purchasing.”
The VinylPlus programme replaces the previous Vinyl 2010 programme.