The European PVC production and converting value-chain has been working hard since the mid-1990s to ensure that the sustainability challenges of PVC are tackled. Although there is still work to do in this area, PVC recycling has become an economically viable business.
Why recycle PVC?
- PVC is well suited to recycling due to its advanced mechanical recycling properties.
- Large volumes of recyclable PVC waste are available.
- Using recycled PVC helps meet resource-efficiency targets and allows the preservation of natural resources.
- Using recycled PVC reduces emissions and landfill.
VinylPlus has set a target of 800,000 tonnes of PVC to be recycled every year by 2020. In 2013 over 440,000 tonnes of PVC were recycled in Europe. The majority of recycled PVC comes from window profiles and other related building products.
There are currently more than 100 operations in Europe which recycle PVC pipes, profiles, flooring, coated fabrics and membranes. The European PVC industry is dedicated to increasing this number.
The 800,000 tonnes recycling target for 2020 is indeed challenging. Within that target, a sub-target has been set to recycle 100,000 tonnes per year of 'difficult-to-recycle' PVC material, such as composite materials and materials from mixed waste streams.