VinylPlus®, the Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, recycled 771,313 tonnes of PVC in 2019 - more than 96% of the programme’s 2020 target. The PVC industry is well on track to meet VinylPlus’ ever more challenging recycling targets for 2025, in line with the Circular Economy and the ambition of the Circular Plastics Alliance and EU policy initiatives to encourage recovering, recycling and reusing plastics. VinylPlus’ results are presented in its 2020 Progress Report launched today.
“Over the last 20 years, VinylPlus has worked tirelessly to tackle the challenges of circularity. We continuously aim to improve our sustainability performance embracing the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and other policy initiatives impacting the plastics sector,” stated Brigitte Dero, Managing Director of VinylPlus.
PVC has become a plastic material of choice for medium- and long-life applications, primarily in building and construction products such as window frames, pipes, flooring, and cables, but also for lifesaving medical devices.
PVC is reusable and can be recycled multiple times without losing its essential properties. Recycling this valuable material is a key part of VinylPlus’ voluntary commitment to sustainability and to the Circular Economy. This recycling effort is reinforced by traceability and certification schemes that ensure the safety and quality of recycled materials and processes. Through its Voluntary Commitment, the European PVC industry has recycled 5.7 million tonnes of PVC since 2000, preventing the release of 11.4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. In 2019 alone, 771,313 tonnes of PVC were recycled - more than 96% of the programme’s 2020 target.
Following the European Commission’s pledging call for the entire plastics industry to boost recycling, VinylPlus has committed to recycling at least 900,000 tonnes of PVC per year into new products by 2025 - securing further its place in achieving Europe’s Circular Economy strategy and the aspirations of the cross-industry European Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance, set up in 2019 for the cooperation on the uptake of recycled plastic.
Continuous recycling of valuable PVC material is in the best interest of a sustainable society. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has confirmed recently that the recycling of end-of-life PVC products is the best waste management option from both an environmental and human health point of view (ECHA’s Annex XV report). Recycling of PVC significantly reduces potential greenhouse gas emissions as for each kilo of PVC recycled, two kilos of CO2 are saved. The alternative scenarios would result in wasting material that would otherwise be recycled and reused.
VinylPlus’ 2020 Progress Report confirms that the voluntary programme is achieving its targeted objectives.
To guarantee maximum transparency, participation and accountability, a Monitoring Committee, composed of representatives of the EU Parliament, the EU Commission, trade unions, consumer organisations and academia, supervises VinylPlus’ achievements and progress.
Jo Dewulf, professor at Ghent University and Chair of the Monitoring Committee, said: “Industry initiatives, like VinylPlus, that look beyond recycling and put sustainability along value chains in focus are increasingly essential when developing strategies for a circular economy.”
VinylPlus goes further than the Circular Economy, addressing other sustainability topics such as energy and climate change, sustainable material sourcing and production and the responsible use of additives.
Such key issues have been integrated into the VinylPlus® Product Label, the sustainability certification scheme for PVC products in the building and construction sector delivering the highest sustainability performance and contribution to the Circular Economy. To date, ten companies have received the VinylPlus® Product Label for more than 100 PVC products manufactured at 18 European sites. Workers’ health and education are also an integral part of the programme.
VinylPlus cooperates with the European Chemical Sectoral Social Partners (made of European Chemical Employers Group and industriAll Europe) to implement action plans for workers’ safety and for the digitalisation of SMEs that were defined in the framework of the renewed Cooperation Agreement signed in 2017.
Brigitte Dero commented that “each progress report is a timely opportunity for the industry to reflect not only on its past achievements, but also on future challenges and opportunities. With the culmination of VinylPlus in sight, we are engaging further with our partners and stakeholders in a dialogue to build the new VinylPlus programme towards 2030 that will be launched in May 2021.”
Download the full Progress Report
In an initial “SOS” call to Save Our SMEs, ICC has issued recommendations to governments to:
• Provide direct and immediate support to small businesses to ensure their continued operation
• Provide direct and immediate support to workers and those most vulnerable—both at home and abroad
• Ensure support reaches MSMEs and their workers quickly
• Adapt existing government-led social programmes
• Ensure open trade and the expedited flow of essential goods across borders
• Implement formal and informal channels for dialogue between government, employers, workers and communities.
More info at this link
Brussels, 8 November 2019 – PVC4Cables hosted yesterday in Berlin its second biennial conference with the theme In PVC Cables we Trust! Innovation and Sustainability for Smart Electrical Systems. Over 90 representatives of the European PVC cable industry debated the future of the sector, focusing in particular on research and development (R&D), sustainable development and market trends.
“At the global level, PVC remains the most used material,” confirmed Astrid Aupetit, Senior Research Analyst of AMI Consulting, “with 53% of the processed compounds’ volumes, and an estimated growth of 1-1.5% in the coming years. In Europe, PVC maintains its leadership among the materials used in the low-voltage cable industry.”
PVC is an excellent choice thanks to the versatility of its formulations; the easy processing; its excellent insulation properties; its performance in terms of resistance to fire and atmospheric agents, and its cost-efficiency. “In PVC cables,” explained Professor Alessandro Marangoni of Althesys, “the higher the PVC content in the cable, the lower the costs for the cable owners as calculated by the TCO methodology.” Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the assessment methodology designed to calculate the lifetime costs of acquiring, operating and maintaining a product. “Furthermore, on the basis of the PVC recycling Cost-Benefit Analysis (copper recovery not included), the higher the quantity of PVC in the cable, the higher the net benefits of recycling in comparison to landfill and incineration.”
Although PVC is considered a mature material by many, the research and innovations in formulations developed in recent years has led to very promising results. “Cable formulations based on P-PVC (plasticised PVC) can be improved,” said Professor Enrico Boccaleri, Università del Piemonte Orientale, “in particular concerning thermal stability and HCl release reduction, by the use of nanomaterials.”
“In Italy, we have developed compounds for PVC cables with low smoke acidity and pretty good fire performance,” stated Gianluca Sarti, representative of the Compounds for Cables Group of PVC Forum Italia. “Our research has shown that we can produce PVC compounds with a smoke acidity 25 time lower in comparison to standard compounds currently used. Tests are currently ongoing to improve performance even further.” Providing an update on flame retardancy with low smoke and low acidity, Professor Camillo Cardelli, Researcher at i-Pool, underlined that “PVC can obtain the highest fire-reaction results compared with any thermoplastic material if properly formulated with suitable additives and flame-retardant fillers.”
Based on these premises, Erica Lo Buglio, PVC4Cables and Marco Piana, Director of PVC Forum Italia, presented the new PVC4Cables brochure on how to choose PVC cables under the CPR, demonstrating the ability of PVC cables to meet the individual specifications of intended-use/fire-risk with competitive costs.
Roland Dewitt of ACCIPIS and Chris Howick, Product Regulation Manager of INOVYN updated participants respectively on standardisation relevant for the cable industry and the current regulatory status in Europe for the Medium-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins under REACH and RoHS.
In terms of sustainability, presenting his new LCA study on energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with the production, use and final disposal of PVC cables, José M. Baldasano, Professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, stated that “the electrical cable that presents the best results, according to the environmental indicators considered, is PVC with 25% recycled material in its composition.”
Recycling is, of course, one of PVC’s strong points. Speaking on challenges and opportunities in making PVC cables circular, Ingrid Verschueren, General Manager of Recovinyl®, highlighted “the excellent performance achieved in 2018 in PVC cables recycling, with 151,506 tonnes recycled and a 20.3% increase over 2017.” Since 2000, more than 1.1 million tonnes of PVC cables have been recycled in the framework of the Vinyl 2010 and VinylPlus® programmes, saving nearly 2.3 million of CO2 emissions.
PVC cables recyclability was also underlined by Piero De Fazio, Senior Researcher of ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), while illustrating the PVC Upcycling Project: from de-manufacturing, with recovery and recycling of PVC electrical cables from energy plants, to re-manufacturing of products with low environmental impact.
Some practical examples on analytical services and certifications were presented by Gerald Aengenheyster, Managing Director of SKZ-Testing GmbH. Stefan Eingärtner, Technical Director of VinylPlus®, illustrated the VinylPlus® Product Label, the sustainability certification scheme for PVC products developed by VinylPlus® with BRE (Building Research Establishment) and The Natural Step.
Closing the conference, Zdenek Hruska, PVC4Cables Project Manager, emphasised that the concrete results achieved in the first two years of intense work by the PVC4Cables Platform were possible “thanks to the collaboration among PVC resin manufacturers, stabilisers’ and plasticisers’ producers, converters, industry experts, universities and research bodies, that has given a new impulse to the environmentally responsible innovation in the PVC cables sector.”
In Zelian we developed over 20 years of experience in assisting companies, organizations and associations in their journey towards sustainability for a greener economy, with a specific experience in the building and energy sector. Read the Brochure (in Italian)
Zelian has a specific expertise in the management of sustainability issues in the agri-food sector.
In Zelian we developed over 20 years of experience in assisting companies, organizations and associations in their journey towards sustainability for a greener economy.
Read the Brochure (in Italian)
Unicom’s survey on political communication. Read the article published by AdV with Andrea Lupo's contribution (in Italian).
The conference will discuss the possibility of creating a common table to bring together the different professionals and their associations.
Patricia Chaves of the Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) is interviewed by Erica on the role of Partnerships.