The development and consolidation of collection and recycling schemes for window profiles continued in 2016, with a further increase (+10.2%) in recycled volumes compared to the previous year. In total 256,607 tonnes of PVC window profiles and related products were recycled within the VinylPlus framework.
EPPA’s main activities in 2016 included the launch of the ‘Hybrid Project’, aimed at developing and monitoring the best available recycling technologies for PVC window profiles made of hybrid materials; the development of a voluntary standard for the controlled-loop recycling of PVC window profiles; and the assessment of working conditions where PVC recyclates are present.
The 2016 annual report by VITO stated that TEPPFA members used about 62,000 tonnes of PVC recyclates in 2015, a fall of almost 30% from 2014. This first clear decline since 2011 was mainly due to worries and uncertainties over the EU regulatory framework on the use of recycled PVC. Indeed, the negative impact of EU
legislations – such as REACH, CLP, Waste Framework Directive Annex III, and End-of-Waste Criteria – on recycling of uPVC long-life products containing legacy substances remains a major concerns for TEPPFA members.
Advocacy and communications activities continued in 2016 to promote Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), as well as the use of recyclates in long-life, quality products. Furthermore, in September 2016, TEPPFA co-hosted the world Plastic Pipes XVIII Conference in Berlin, Germany, which was attended by more than 500 delegates.
ESWA recycled 5,082 tonnes of roofing and waterproofing membranes in 2016 through its project Roofcollect®, a 56.4% increase from 2015.
As announced in last year’s Progress Report, EPFLOOR was dissolved at the end of 2015, but the flooring industry remained committed to recycling and to the Voluntary Commitment. ERFMI took over EPFLOOR’s rights and obligations for 2016. A new initiative will be established in 2017.
In 2016, ERFMI collected 4,207 tonnes of flooring waste, a 2.6% increase on 2015, and produced 3,811 tonnes of R-PVC.
The Fraunhofer IVV Institute CREASOLV project to investigate a solvent-based recycling process for difficult-to-recycle PVC waste, including flooring, ended in 2016. These pilot-scale experiments showed a reduction of legacy phthalates. Confirmation of technical feasibility would still be required, by testing the resulting material in actual flooring production.
To test energy and material recovery from PVC waste, 100 tonnes of shredded post-consumer PVC flooring were supplied by AgPR to Oreade-Suez in France, an energy recovery company that uses the SOLVAir® treatment system for the control of air emissions. The recovered NaCl (salt) is purified by Resolest and used in a Solvay plant to produce soda ash, thus replacing virgin NaCl. Further trials will be undertaken in 2017.
In the framework of the Turquoise project, I.déel was set up as a company to commercialise Novafloor products. Novafloor’s formwork sheets – made of 100% recycled PVC and marble powder, and recyclable – will be used in new Paris subway stations.