At the completion of its second 10-year Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development, the European PVC industry takes stock of its achievements and looks ahead to 2030. Among the main results, which are summarised in the VinylPlus Progress Report 2021 published today, the continuous development of collection and recycling schemes for PVC waste across Europe, which made possible to recycle 6.5 million tonnes of PVC since 2000; the progressive replacement of the most problematic additives; the reduction of energy consumption in production processes; and the development of the VinylPlus® Product Label.

Looking ahead, VinylPlus confirms its strong engagement and commitments to recycle 900,000 tonnes of PVC per year by 2025, in line with the ambitions of the Circular Plastics Alliance, and one million tonnes by 2030. Over the past 20 years, the European PVC industry, through VinylPlus, has made steady progress in terms of product stewardship, research into innovative technologies and improvement of the environmental footprint of PVC. Above all, advances have been made in recycling, with the set-up of collection and recycling schemes that were virtually non-existent 20 years ago. Since then, VinylPlus has proven to be a frontrunner in the circular economy by ensuring continuously growing and safe recycling of PVC and was well on track to meet its recycling target of 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges faced by the industry in 2020, VinylPlus still achieved a great result, reaching more than 730,000 tonnes of PVC recycled and re-used into new products - above 91% of the programme’s 2020 target.

Since 2000, the European PVC industry has recycled 6.5 million tonnes of PVC into new products - thus preventing the release of nearly 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere - and created 1,500 direct jobs in recycling plants. VinylPlus goes further than the Circular Economy, having addressed other sustainability topics such as energy efficiency,sustainable material sourcing and production, and the responsible use of additives. The energy needed to produce one tonne of PVC resin decreased by an average of 9.5% between 2007-2008 and 2015-2016. In the same period, CO2 emissions were reduced by 14.4% for the average PVC production. For converters, across main applications such as window profiles, pipes, flooring and films, energy consumption decreased between 16% and 26.5% in 2020 compared to 2010.

The Additive Sustainability Footprint (ASF) methodology developed in collaboration with The Natural Step was peer-reviewed by Life Cycle Analysis experts and validated. It helps additive manufacturers self-assess the sustainability of their current and new additives used in PVC products.

The VinylPlus® Product Label, the sustainability mark for PVC products in the building and construction sector “not only provides specific criteria for more sustainable PVC production and use - said Stijn Brancart, Expert in Circular Construction at VIBE - but also opens up discussion and stimulates producers to apply the principles through different approaches. It focuses on recycled content and upcycling potential but also contains aspects of demountability and even return policies.” To date, the VinylPlus® Product Label has been awarded to 128 PVC products, guiding consumers and public buyers towards more sustainable purchase decisions.

Since 2019, VinylPlus has been a signatory of the Circular Plastics Alliance, the European Commission’s multi-stakeholder platform aimed at boosting the market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025, and chaired the Construction Working Group. “I am very pleased with the commitment and the proactive role of VinylPlus in the Circular Plastics Alliance – said Kirsi Ekroth-Manssila, Head of Unit, DG GROW, European Commission – I am confident that with the cooperation of all the members of the Circular Plastics Alliance, and with the positive example set by VinylPlus – as an effective and successful cross-value chain platform – the overall outcome will be a success. VinylPlus is a perfect example of how to make the Circular Economy a reality, being the first value chain in 2000 to take on the challenge of transforming a problem into an opportunity.”

As a united value chain, VinylPlus accomplished major achievements. Nevertheless, we cannot stay still. In the past months, the entire PVC value chain, together with its stakeholders, worked hard to build its next Commitment to sustainable development for the decade to 2030, which will be officially launched at the VinylPlus Sustainability Forum 2021 #TOWARDS2030.

"Looking back, we have achieved a lot – commented Brigitte Dero, Managing Director, VinylPlus. However, there is still much more to do, especially if we intend to proactively contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We now move forward to the next stage of our commitment to sustainable development, exploiting 20+ years of lessons learned and achievements to build a new and even more ambitious commitment for the next decade so as to contribute further towards a more sustainable and circular future. We look forward to the official launch of our next 2030 commitment at our VinylPlus Sustainability Forum on 17 June and to engaging with all stakeholders in this effort.” Download the Progress Report 2021

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

PVC4Cables hosted 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.

Two days of training, sharing and business matching with the supply chain managers of Italian and multinational companies.

Milan 19/03/2015 - ECIA presented today, in a workshop organised by the Metropolitan City of Milan and moderated by Zelian, a 10-steps action plan to strengthen the future of the creative industries.