WREP (Waste REcycling Project) was launched for the first time in 2016 by the PVC Forum Italia and VinylPlus to evaluate the potential for improving PVC recycling in Italy and promote the development of pilot schemes for the collection and recycling of PVC waste involving the different actors, public and private, of the recycling chain. And, more generally, with the aim of increasing the quantity and quality of pvc recycled from waste from urban waste and construction (construction and demolition), with a view to circular economy.
In 2018, the Veritas Group,the entirely public multi-utility that manages the complete waste cycle in the 44 municipalities of the Venice metropolitan area and in 7 of the province of Treviso, and AED,the regional representative of Recovinyl (www.recovinyl.com) in Italy, were involved in the first pilot project.
The experimental phase began in autumn 2018 and in one year about 135 tons were selected and collected, of which 89% were transformed into recycled PVC, guaranteeing, in addition to an active contribution against the environmental impact, also an economic saving of about 43%. The operational activities initially focused on training,
a fundamental step of the WREP project. On the basis of the teaching material prepared by DAE, PVC Forum Italia has trained the operators of the supply chain involved in the experimentation in order to recognize, select and manage PVC applications at the end oftheir life. Focusing on 2 categories of workers: the staff of the Veritas Ecocenters and the subsidiary Eco-Ricicli Veritas with regard to urban waste and the staff of companies in the construction and demolition chain.
In 2019 the WREP project was extended to the territory served by ETRA SpA,which includes the Brenta basin, from the Asiago Plateau to the Bassanese and the Province of Padua. The operational experimentation phase took place in the months between 1 October 2019 and 31 November 2020 and the actual amount of selected, pressed and packaged PVC waste that ETRA sent to the recycling plant was 119.94 tons. These were entirely processed, recovering 114.08 tons (equal to 95%) that were transformed into R-PVC (recycled PVC) granules. From an economic point of view, the initiative recorded a positive economic balance of € 18,201. This means that THE management of PVC waste according to the WREP model has generated a saving of 57% compared to starting to dispose of the same amount of waste. From an environmental point of view, the project has made it possible to avoid the emission into the atmosphere of about 700 tons of CO2 compared to the disposal and production of the same amount of PVC recovered from virgin raw material. Thanks to the collaboration with ETRA, the WREP 2019 project has become part of the European project Circe 2020,supported by the Interreg CENTRAL Programme EUROPE and funded under the European Regional Found of Development with the aim of expanding the circular economy model in the production districts of 5 Central European countries.
The projects launched in 2018 and 2019 continued in the two service companies involved in the WREP, maintaining constant annual volumes of PVC selected and delivered to the recyclers indicated by the PVC Forum Italia, reaching a value of recycled PVC from 2018 to 2021 equal to 489.35 tons.
In 2020 the initiative also involved Isontina Ambiente which manages the environmental services of collection, transport and disposal of municipal solid waste and similar, urban clean and management of disposal and treatment plants, in twenty-five municipalities in the province of Gorizia. After a first organizational phase for the definition of the possible quantities of recoverable PVC, the training activities of the operators were planned following the same methods described above for the other multi-utilities previously involved, in compliance with the safety rules imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic period.
From October 2020 the operational phase began. In the first 6 months, 12.63 tons were collected through the Ecocenters, all coming from bulky and special PVC waste, these quantities were then selected, pressed and packaged by Eco-Ricicli Veritas who collaborated for the preparation of the PVC to be sent to the recycler. The waste received from the recycling plant was entirely processed, recovering 11.68 tons (92.3%) which were transformed into PVC-R granules. From an economic point of view, there was a positive balance of € 612.87, with a saving generated of 19.40%. From an environmental point of view, the management of waste and the subsequent recycling of PVC has made it possible to avoid the emission into the atmosphere of about 27.79 tons of CO2.
Summing up all the data from 2018, the total of the “bulky” managed through the various initiatives of the WREP project is equal to about 42,000 tons. Of these, 870 tons are various plastic materials from which 539 tons of PVC have been selected and separated, made available to recyclers, who have produced 502 tons of quality recycled PVC. Based on these preliminary data, the availability of PVC waste can be estimated at more than 10,000 tons/year nationwide. These quantities, which currently end up in landfills, could potentially be collected and recycled in collaboration with municipal collection centers, in addition to the quantities already recycled in Italy through the Recovinyl network, about 60,000 per year. The reported data describe not only an undoubted environmental sustainability of the WREP Project but also an evident convenience from an economic point of view. The initiative, adapting to different territorial needs, can be replicated everywhere. For the second part of 2021 and for 2022 other projects are already planned in other areas of Italy also focused on some specific applications of PVC, whose updates will be reported in
PVC is one of the most widely used polymers in the world, it is recyclable and recycled. Under the VinylPlus programme, 731,461 tonnes of PVC were recycled in Europe in 2020.
The WREP project aims to contribute to further improving the processes of PVC collection and selection in collaboration with utilities, in particular with regard to the PVC content in so-called bulky waste.
PVC continues to make life safer and more comfortable through its use in construction, water networks, transportation, wiring, credit cards and smart cards, packaging, fashion and design, agriculture, telecommunications, medical devices and in a wide range of other industries and products. PVC is inherently a “low carbon” plastic, it is extremely durable and has an excellent cost/benefit ratio. PVC helps to preserve resources and energy and, at the end of its life, can be recycled without losing essential properties.
PVC Forum Italia is the Italian association that brings together the main companies of production, compounding and transformation of PVC, manufacturers of additives and processing machines. Based in Milan, the PVC Forum is part of the European Network of PVC forums linked to ECVM (European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers), the European association of PVC manufacturers, in turn a division of the Association of European Plastics Manufacturers (PlasticsEurope).
VinylPlus® is the Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry. The programme sets out a long-term sustainable development model for the entire PVC supply chain by addressing a number of key challenges in the Europe of 27, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
Recovinyl is the organisation set up to facilitate the collection and recycling of PVC waste under the Voluntary Commitments of the European PVC Industry.
ETRA SpA – Energia Territorio Risorse Ambientali spa, a multi-utility company with public capital operating in the waste service – environmental hygiene and in the integrated water service in a territory that includes 70 municipalities between the provinces of Padua and Vicenza.
Veritas Spa – Veneziana Energia Risorse Idriche Territorio Ambiente Servizi is the joint-stock company with entirely public capital that provides environmental services to the 51 member municipalities in an area of 2,650 square kilometers, which has 930,000 inhabitants and 50 million tourist presences. It manages the complete waste cycle and urban hygiene, the integrated water service, collective urban services, energy management and energy production from renewable sources.
ECO-RICICLI VERITAS s.r.l. is the company controlled by Veritas specialized in the recovery, selection and enhancement of differentiated waste.
Isontina Ambiente extendsthe contracts of the environmental service, i.e. collection, transport and disposal of municipal solid waste and similar, urban clean and management of disposal and treatment plants, carried out in twenty-five municipalities in the province of Gorizia.