Among the objectives present in the Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC supply chain, VinylPlus, has a decisive role to achieve 800,000 tons / year of mechanically recycled post-consumption PVC by 2020.
This goal is about to be achieved considering that in 2018 there were about 740,000 tons recycled as can be seen from the trend in the quantities recycled in recent years:
PROGRESS REPORT DIAGRAM 2019
Thanks to a moderate but continuous increase in volumes in almost all European countries, the recycling of PVC waste within VinylPlus reached 739,525 tons in 2018.
According to a study conducted by the German consultancy firm Conversio (www.conversio-gmbh.com) on behalf of VinylPlus, 2.5 million tons of PVC waste were available in Europe in 2016. The volumes recycled from VinylPlus shown above represent approximately 25% of these available waste. The main contribution still comes from Recovinyl1, with a registered volume of 734,568 tons of recycled PVC waste. In 2017 Recovinyl was the subject of an important reorganization, both in its management structure and in the data collection and communication systems. Systematization, in particular of the control protocols, will also continue in 2020.
During 2018, the main recycling markets recorded different trends: the volumes of recycled Rigid PVC are currently very high compared to the offer, and show the potential to further strengthen the collection and recycling schemes.
Sector projects for the management of PVC waste
As regards EPPA2, around 326,276 tons of window profiles and related products were recycled in 2018. In 2018, EPPA actively supported the implementation and promotion of the VinylPlus® Product Label, supporting associated companies in preparing audits, promoting the brand with national and European public officials, as well as with press office activities to communicate the brand to a wider audience. The Hybrid Project, aimed at classifying and improving the recyclability of PVC profiles made with hybrid materials currently on the market, entered its second phase, in which guidelines were developed on how to increase the recyclability of hybrid materials in profiles window. EPPA is currently working with the European standardization organization to finalize the proposed standard for the Controlled-Loop PVC Window Recycling. The results of the Hybrid Project will be directly integrated into this standard. To raise awareness of the use of PVC-R, EPPA concentrated its communication activities in 2018 on end customers, creating and publishing various brochures. It also continued to inform window manufacturers about VinylPlus activities, including by participating in the
main trade fairs. Finally, EPPA has continued and expanded its monitoring activities to provide the sector with reliable information on the use of substances, recycled and the like.
In 2018 TEPPFA continued its active participation in the NSRR (North Sea Resources Roundabout) project, contributing to the successful conclusion of the pilot phase of the PVC flows project. The NSRR is an international voluntary agreement between Flanders (Belgium), the Netherlands and the UK that aims to tackle the legal and practical barriers that hinder trade, transportation and use of secondary resources. In February 2018, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Resources issued a legal opinion that clearly defines when rigid PVC waste should still be considered waste and when it should be considered a resource for new products. The opinion approves the EoW (End-of-Waste) qualification for recycled rigid PVC. As a second raw material, PVC-R must comply with REACH when it leaves a recycling plant.
In June 2018, TEPPFA announced its support for Operation Clean Sweep® (www.opcleansweep.org), an international initiative of the plastic industry to reduce the dispersion of pellets and plastic powders in the environment. The initiative aims to ensure that pellets, flakes and plastic powders from production plants are handled with care and do not end up in rivers or at sea. ReVinylFloor (www.revinylfloor.org) is the organization created to stimulate sustainable closed-loop solutions for the recycling and recovery of post-consumer PVC floors in Europe. ReVinylFloor is currently expanding and strengthening its existing network and cooperation with the supply chain to stimulate separate collection and the quality of the selection of waste from floors. This includes supporting research and development of additional commercial applications for recycled products in Europe, as well as optimizing mechanical recycling options and chemical recycling tests for some specific waste streams. The creation of a ReVinylFloor quality label for products containing at least 50% recycled PVC is also being evaluated.
In 2018 AgPR collected around 1,800 tons of PVC waste for recycling in Germany and continued its communication activities, also in collaboration with other German PVC associations. In total 2,387 tons of PVC floors were recycled in 2018 as part of VinylPlus.
ESWA recycled 3,531 tons of roof and waterproofing membranes in 2018 through its Roofcollect® project (www.roofcollect.com), in line with its objectives. In 2019 ESWA will take part in the pilot tests of the Oreade project, to test the treatment of roof membranes. Through its recycling initiatives, in 2018 IVK Europe18 continued to support the collection and recycling of flexible and rigid PVC film and coated products. Recycled products are currently used for the production of sheets for various applications.