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11-13-2015

Recycling PVC Creates Jobs

The 481,000 t of waste PVC recycled across Europe in 2014 contributed to the creation of around 1,000 direct jobs in recycling plants, according to VinylPlus, the sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry.

PVC recycled within the Vinyl 2010 and VinylPlus frameworks (figure: VinylPlus)

As well as creating employment opportunities, PVC recycling is also saving around one million t of carbon emissions annually. The figures are calculated on an average of one employee needed to recycle 500 t of PVC per year and a 2 kg saving of CO2 for each kilogramme of PVC that is recycled. Energy demand for recycling PVC is typically around 90% lower than virgin PVC production.

Waste PVC materials, such as rigid PVC films, pipes and fittings, window profiles and related products, as well as flexible PVC (cables, membranes and flooring) were recycled through the European-wide network of 155 Recovinyl-accredited recyclers. A total of 11.8 million window frames are recycled per year.

Speaking at the recent Brussels Sustainable Development Summit in October, Arjen Sevenster, Technical and Environmental Affairs Manager for the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM), highlighted how Voluntary Commitments, such as VinylPlus, which put together the entire European PVC value chain, can address sustainability challenges in a systemic and holistic way, helping to move an industry sector towards a low-carbon circular economy. “For example, from 2007 to 2013 there was a 10.2% decrease in energy consumption to produce one tonne of PVC. Resin producers are targeting a 20% reduction of energy consumption by 2020,” Mr. Sevenster said.

VinylPlus is the renewed ten-year Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry. The programme establishes a long-term framework for the sustainable development of the PVC industry by tackling a number of critical challenges in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland. Its target is to recycle 800,000 t of PVC per year by 2020.

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