Where PVC waste occurs

Overall, three main types of PVC waste are generated:

Production residues

These arise mostly in the form of off-cuts as a product is made, in a factory or plant. For many years such valuable 'waste' has been recycled as a matter of good housekeeping and only a small proportion is disposed of into 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 recycling these `waste' products back into new products.

Post-consumer (also called post-use) waste

This waste consists of products which have fulfilled their service life, coming various domestic and industry sectors.

The majority of PVC products are long-life:in building and construction, for example, estimated lifespans of 50-100 years are not unrealistic. As a result, the quantity of used PVC items entering the waste stream is still relatively small, less than half the production of PVC products. However, this situation will change over time as greater numbers of these PVC products approach the end of their useful economic lives, and begin to slowly 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.