PVC recycling in Europe

In 1997, the European Union Commission launched a ‘Horizontal Initiative’ to evaluate the environmental footprint of PVC and to make a proposal for a European Union policy on PVC.


Voluntary Commitments

This initiative resulted in the publication of a series of studies focused on waste management, followed in July 2000 by a Green Paper on PVC COM(2000) 469. This led to the associations involved from the PVC industry (ECVM, the European Plastics Converters EuPC, the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates ECPI and the European Stabilisers Producers Association ESPA) signing a “Voluntary Commitment of the PVC industry” covering the entire production chain of PVC products in March 2000. In October 2001, the initial commitment was updated and expanded, and called “Vinyl 2010 - The Voluntary Commitment of the PVC industry.”

The Voluntary Commitment aimed toat enhance the sustainable use of PVC for each part of its life cycle, an essential part being the improvement of post-consumer PVC waste management. After its successful completion, Vinyl 2010was replaced by its successor, VinylPlus®, in June 2011.

Overall waste management strategy for PVC

The European plastics industry is committed to making the most efficient use of natural resources,in it’s policy of 'resource efficiency'. This means balancing environmental concern about recycling PVC with the fact that eco-efficient recycling saves resources, thus profiting our society.aims to balance environmental concern against the advantages of our industrial society and to set both in the context of economic feasibility.The strategy to promote resource efficiency was developed by PlasticsEurope, that represents the European plastics producing industry. It is known as the 'Integrated Approach' and covers all stages of plastics usage, from production to final disposal.

It encompasses the concepts of:

Prevention via reduction at source

minimising the volume and weight of waste at the production stage.

Re-use

providing an extended life for certain products.

Recycling

making new products out of used goods.

Energy recovery

harnessing the high energy value of spent plastic goods to produce light, heat and power.

Landfill

for non-recoverable products and the residual waste from recovery operations.