Among the objectives present in the Voluntary Committment of the European PVC supply chain, VinylPlus, has a decisive role to reach the 800,000 tons / year of post-consumption PVC mechanically recycled by 2020.
This objective is about to be reached considering that in 2017 there were about 640,000 tons recycled as can be seen from the trend in quantities recycled in recent years:
Thanks to a moderate but continuous increase in volumes in almost all European countries, PVC waste recycling within VinylPlus reached 639.648 tons in 2017.
According to a study conducted by the German consulting company Conversio (www.conversio-gmbh.com) on behalf of VinylPlus, in 2016, 2.5 million tonnes of PVC waste were available in Europe. The volumes recycled by VinylPlus mentioned above represent about 25% of this waste available.
The main contribution still comes from Recovinyl, with a registered volume of 633,127 tons of recycled PVC waste. In 2017, Recovinyl was the subject of an important reorganization, both in its management structure and in data collection and communication systems. The systematization, in particular of the control protocols, will continue in 2018.
During 2017, the main recycling markets showed different trends: volumes increased in France and Italy; the market remained approximately stable in Germany; and recyclers have reported a shortage of post-consumer window profiles for recycling in the UK.
Sector projects for the management of PVC waste
With regard to EPPA, about 300,000 tonnes of window profiles and related products were recycled in 2017. Of these, about 40% of windows, shutters and post-consumer and post-industrial profiles, were recycled in Germany, 30% in the UK and 30% in the rest of the 28-member Europe. The Hybrid Project, launched from EPPA in 2016, it was aimed at classifying the recyclability of PVC profiles made with hybrid materials currently on the market. He estimated that while post-industrial hybrid waste is easily recognizable, it is often quite complex to identify hybrid materials in post-consumer waste. The project will continue in 2018 with a focus on post-consumer waste, to determine how to facilitate the identification and design of hybrid PVC profiles. The main EPPA activities in 2017 also included support for member companies that requested VinylPlus® Product Label (see also page 23).
In 2017, TEPPFA continued its advocacy and communication activities. These have promoted the use of recycled PVC-U, as well as cooperation with recycling companies and quality certification institutes, focusing on the quality and durability of piping systems. The first indications of the VITO annual budget 2017 showed an increase in the consumption of recycled rigid PVC by TEPPFA members compared to the previous year. However, achieving sectoral objectives will depend on the regulatory framework for legacy additives. It could also be influenced by the adoption of quality standards that limit the use of recycled PVC in some countries and for certain applications. TEPPFA continued its active participation in the NSRR (North Sea Resources Roundabout) project. The NSRR is an international voluntary agreement on secondary resources between France, Flanders, UK and the Netherlands, which aims to remove obstacles to cross-border activities. In 2017, TEPPFA focused mainly on finding a pragmatic solution for the cessation of waste (EoW) waste recycled PVC in cross-border activities. In February 2018 the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Resources issued a legal opinion approving the EoW for recycled PVC rigid, REACH compliant, when they leave a recycling facility. TEPPFA aims at the approval of the scheme by the European Commission, in order to obtain a harmonized approach across the EU that could support the (European) ambitions on the circular economy.