Other Recycling Projects
The Ebene project on end-of-life professional furniture was initiated in France in 2014 by SFEC with the objectives of assessing the flow of PVC furniture waste; identifying and testing logistical and recycling solutions for this type of waste; and consolidating knowledge about PVC incineration (as some furniture waste will still require incineration). SFEC is cooperating with Valdelia, the French eco-agency dedicated to recycling professional furniture waste, providing it with information and developing recycling solutions for both rigid and flexible PVC. The information collected from the Ebene project was provided to the European Ecolabel Bureau. This helped allay concerns over PVC incineration, and none of the initial remarks on it were retained in the Ecolabel draft criteria on furniture of October 2015.
In 2015, VinylPlus started to support the recycling consortium Resysta®, which produces a wood-like material based on rice husk and PVC, homogeneously connected in the polymer matrix, and recyclable after use. The consortium includes a number of VinylPlus partner companies across several industry sectors. During the year, collection and sorting technologies suitable for Resysta® products were examined, and other converters and recyclers in the VinylPlus/Recovinyl network were contacted to exchange knowledge. From 2016, volumes of PVC recycled in Resysta® products (183 tonnes in 2015) will be included in VinylPlus statistics.
RecoMed is a partnership project between the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and Axion Consulting (the UK agent of Recovinyl), launched in the UK in 2014. The aim of the RecoMed project is to recycle non-contaminated PVC medical products (such as IV solution bags, oxygen masks, oxygen tubing and anaesthetic masks) from UK hospitals. The RecoMed PVC take-back scheme provides the NHS (National Health Service) and private hospitals that register for the collection service with recycling containers and communications materials, and then carries out collections. After an initial trial with two hospitals, RecoMed involved six hospitals in 2015 and collected 719.5 kg of PVC. Since the potential for collection from hospitals is significant (in the UK there are around 1,500 hospitals), efforts are now being made to communicate the project and get other hospitals involved. New potential partners have already been identified.
In Denmark, the WUPPI scheme focuses on the collection and recycling of rigid PVC. Set up in 2003, WUPPI now operates in more than 80% of the country's municipalities.
In the framework of the ReMapPlus initiative – in which VinylPlus closely cooperates with leading research and technology institutes and academics – two promising projects were conceived, both led by the Belgian Textile Research Centre Centexbel. The first project addresses chemical recycling solutions for difficult-to-recycle PVC waste. The second, CELFI, is investigating the inclusion of PVC waste in wood-plastic composites.
VinyLoop® is a physical, solvent-based technology that can recycle difficult-to-treat, end-of-life PVC waste and produces high-quality R-PVC (recycled PVC) compounds. Now that the technology has been perfected, the VinyLoop® process is available for licensing worldwide.
In 2015, the VinyLoop Ferrara plant produced 4,511 tonnes of R-PVC (down 13.5% compared to 2014). In addition, 768 tonnes of waste (a 16.25% fall from 2014) were recycled with the TexyLoop® process, which was developed for the treatment of scraps containing fibres. These significant decreases were both mainly due to uncertainties over the EU regulatory framework on the use of recycled PVC containing DEHP, which negatively affected demand for VinyLoop® R-PVC.
An Eco-Footprint Study (reviewed by the independent testing organisation DEKRA Industrial GmbH, which confirmed its compliance with the ISO standards 14040-44 for Life Cycle Assessment) compared the environmental impact of one kilogram of VinyLoop® R-PVC with one kilogram of PVC compound produced via a conventional route.
The results showed that the Primary Energy Demand (PED) of the VinyLoop® R-PVC is 47% lower; the Global Warming Potential (GWP 100a) is reduced by 40% and the Water Consumption by 76%. For further information or to download VinyLoop® White Paper, visit www.vinyloop.com.