'Excellent Progress' Reported in PVC Recycling

BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 25 – The European PVC industry reported that its recycling program “exceeded expectations” in 2006, more than doubling the volume of recycled material for the second year in a row.
The combined recycling total for the 15 countries in the industry’s sustainable development program reached 83,000 tons, compared with 39,000 tons in 2005 and just over 14,000 tons in 2004. 
The increase was in all sectors, from pipes and window frames to coated fabrics,the industry reported.   In addition, progress continued in replacing lead-based stabilizers, with complete phase-out of the stabilizers in drinking water pipes in most of the 15 countries. 
As in the United States, the European industry group – known as Vinyl 2010 – said it supports a comprehensive life-cycle approach to the environmental impact of materials, from production through disposal, reuse and recycling.  It is currently completing plans to provide all stakeholders with “reliable and robust data on PVC sustainability.”
In a foreword to the group’s report, Chairman Josef Ertl welcomed the outcome of the European Union’s recent risk assessment of phthalate plasticizers, “confirming that the main general-purpose plasticizers DINP and DIDP pose no risk to human health or the environment in any of their current applications.” 
Most people are not aware that collecting waste is often a greater challenge than recycling, Ertl noted.  “Accessing and assuring steady streams of appropriate post-consumer PVC waste requires tenacity, flexibility and creativity in a constantly evolving waste market.”  
In the United States, an estimated 1 billion pounds of vinyl are recycled annually, including some 18 million pounds at the post-consumer level.  The Vinyl Institute, which has a history of supporting development of a recycling infrastructure, recently was honored by WasteCap Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that provides waste handling, reduction and recycling assistance to businesses, with an Innovative Achievement Award for its role in implementing a vinyl siding scrap recycling program in Wisconsin. 
For further information and the full report, go to www.vinyl2010.org.   See also www.vinylnewsservice.com.