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High performance fun and games

Published on: 2014-08-13

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Your voluntary commitment is a really important step that brings in a broader coalition than just the member states of the UN. You are not just talking you are actually doing.

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Sustainability was a core component of the 2012 Olympics and a key reason for London winning the bid. Recognising the potential scale of PVC required for the Games – from membrane wraps to flooring, cabling and pipework – the London 2012 Sustainability Group engaged VinylPlus, via the British Plastics Federation, in conversations with the London authorities to define their policy on PVC.

The policy set out parameters for using PVC, including manufacturing requirements (i.e. compliance with ECVM Charter1, freedom from heavy metals, and preference for at least 30% recycled content) as well as a take-back and re-use or recycle clause.

The objective was to stimulate the supply chain to find innovative ways to provide environmental benefits and use additives sustainably taking into account the whole life cycle of the product.The policy also recognised that there were certain functional requirements for which PVC is the most appropriate material (e.g. cabling).

Take back schemes that specified incineration, land-filling or any form of disposal that did not include recycling or re-engineering options were
not acceptable. The ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority, www.gov.uk/oda) contractors approached the supply chain to procure suitable solutions.

Thanks to its participation in TexyLoop® (www.texyloop.com), a unique and operational recycling chain and its cooperation with Gymnova, VinylPlus partner Serge Ferrari (www.sergeferrari.com) met the strict ODA requirements.

Over 140,000 square meters of PVC were used at the London Olympics, mostly in applications such as:

  • Tensile fabric structures
  • High performance sports surfaces and seating

A very large amount of the PVC used, especially in
temporary structures, has been recycled by TexyLoop®, which was developed with the support of Vinyl 2010.

Altro (www.altro.co.uk) was another company able to meet the very strict criteria and became the only approved supplier of safety flooring and hygienic wall cladding to the London 2012 Games. Its adhesive- free safety flooring, which can be taken up easily post-installation for re-use or recycling, was used as a temporary surface in a large number of buildings.

Recycling PVC waste means not only giving a new life to a valuable resource, but also re-thinking and re-designing recycled pvc production and applications in order to obtain a higher added value in terms of technical and environmental performance.

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