PVC Industry reports progress towards ten-year sustainability and calls for greater cooperation among stakeholders in times of austerity

2 May 2012, Brussels
At the close of the European PVC Value Chain’s annual meeting, on 27 April, the first year results of its new ten year sustainability initiative – VinylPlus – were presented. Despite significant challenges caused by the economic crisis, results indicate that the industry is on track to achieve the VinylPlus sustainability goals for 2020 set last year following the successful completion of its predecessor Vinyl2010.

Under VinylPlus, the industry has set ambitious targets of recycling 800,000 per year tonnes of PVC in Europe by 2020. Thanks to the consolidation of collection and recycling schemes for PVC, 257,084 tonnes were recycled in 2011. This is despite continuing adverse market conditions and the decrease in volumes of PVC waste in construction.

Progress has also been made towards ensuring the sustainable use of additives. By 2011, the consumption of lead stabilisers decreased by 71.4 per cent in the EU-27 compared to 2007 and remains on track for complete substitution by 2015. This trend has been supported by the corresponding growth in the use of calcium as an alternative organic stabiliser.

However, industry leaders warned that meeting VinylPlus’ ambitious objectives will continue to depend on different stakeholders working together to stimulate the market for PVC recycling in Europe.

“The industry remains fully committed to the targets we have set and we are encouraged by progress made in the first year of the new programme in a very difficult economic climate. However, the need for cooperation is more important than ever in these times of austerity. Reaching our goals requires active support down the PVC value chain and a policy environment across Europe which continues to incentivise the diversion of waste from landfill and demand for recycled goods”, said Stefan Eingaertner, General Manager of VinylPlus.
During the annual meeting, industry leaders discussed developments in the PVC market including the growth of innovative and practical solutions, which will improve the sustainability of PVC in the coming years. In this respect, collaboration with end users and designers will be instrumental.

In the framework of VinylPlus, the industry also confirmed its commitment to offer products of very high quality and value for our society while at the same time saving resources and minimising the industry’s impact.

The conviction that innovation is fundamental to the industry’s progress towards sustainability was also underlined at the annual meeting. “Innovation, creativity and forward thinking are crucial to the implementation of our Voluntary Commitment” said Brigitte Dero, General Manager of ECVM and VinylPlus Deputy General Manager. She continued by explaining that “VinylPlus aims at adopting a value-chain approach based on life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency. Tools to achieve this aim include the use of renewables but also effective waste management and recycling; in line with the principle of doing more from less, which is also at the basis of the EU roadmap toward a green economy.”

Several trends were identified concerning the use of PVC in certain key sectors such as sustainable building, food packaging and innovative recycled applications. The dissemination of knowledge acquired through VinylPlus and its predecessor Vinyl2010 beyond Europe, was one of the most encouraging trends.

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