Generically, three main types of PVC waste are generated:
Production residues: these arise mostly in the form of off-cuts, in the factory or plant, as the product is made. For many years such valuable `waste' has been recycled as a matter of good housekeeping and only a small proportion needs to be disposed of as waste to landfill or by combustion.
Installation waste: this results from sold products, such as flooring, cables and pipes, being cut to size during installation. In recent years, the PVC industry has become active in organising collection systems and in recycling these `waste' products back into new products.
Waste: products which have fulfilled their service life and end up in waste streams from different domestic and industry sectors.
The majority of PVC products are long-life (over 10 years). In building and construction, for example, estimated life times of 50-100 years are not unrealistic. As a result, the quantity of used PVC items entering the waste stream is still relatively small. This situation, however, will change over time as progressively greater numbers of such PVC products approach the end of their useful economic lives and begin slowly to increase the volume of the PVC waste stream.
The renovation or refurbishing of buildings will provide the first supplies of such long-lasting PVC products.