How Regulation and Industry Innovation Have Eliminated Dioxin Emissions from PVC Production and Waste Incineration
A troubled past, a brighter future
The recent history of dioxins, at least in the industrialised world, is actually much more positive. One could go as far as to call it a success story. Since the emission of dioxins from industrial production and waste incineration peaked in the 1980s, authorities and industries have enacted measures that have led to dramatic cuts. In the European Union, industrial emissions have been reduced by up to 90% since the 1980s.
PVC and dioxins is a couple with a history, to say the least. In the 1980s and especially in the 1990s, when the debate over dioxins reached a boiling point, PVC was blamed by some as the major culprit for the emissions. As such, the real problem is not on the manufacturing side – it is what happens to the PVC when it leaves the factory, and especially when burned in uncontrolled settings.
When properly incinerated, PVC waste is not problematic. Removing the material from the waste would not make incineration a dioxin-free affair. Dioxin formation happens in landfill fires or when burned in obsolete plants or out in the open. These practices should be eliminated, not only because of dioxins, but also to curb carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons. As mentioned earlier, dioxin emissions during the production of PVC is a marginal problem. However,
VinylPlus is committed to continue the positive development when it comes to manufacturing, recycling and waste management.