The 481,000 tonnes of waste PVC recycled across Europe in 2014 contributed to around 1,000 jobs in recycling plants, according to VinylPlus, the sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry.
As well as creating employment opportunities, PVC recycling is also saving around one million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
The figures are calculated on an average of one employee needed to recycle 500 tonnes of PVC per year and a 2kg saving of CO2 for each kilogram of PVC that is recycled. Energy demand for recycling PVC is typically around 90% lower than virgin PVC production.
Waste PVC materials, such as rigid PVC films, pipes and fittings, window profiles and related products, as well as flexible PVC (cables, membranes and flooring) were recycled through the European-wide network of 155 Recovinyl-accredited recyclers.
A total of 11.8 million window frames are recycled per year.
Speaking at the recent Brussels Sustainable Development Summit, Arjen Sevenster, technical and environmental affairs manager for the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers, highlighted how voluntary commitments, such as VinylPlus, which put together the entire European PVC value chain, can address sustainability challenges in a systemic and holistic way, helping to move an industry sector towards a low-carbon circular economy.
He said: “We are addressing sustainability as a whole through a range of actions including waste management, sustainable use of additives and reducing energy consumption.
“For example, from 2007 to 2013 there was a 10.2% decrease in energy consumption to produce one tonne of PVC. Resin producers are targeting a 20% reduction of energy consumption by 2020.”
● The conference session on PVC during the Plastics Recycling Show Europe will touch upon the current collection schemes systems and recycled volumes across Europe, the legislative framework for PVC recycling and will give an insight into the Product Environmental Footprint Project. Find out about PRS Europe's conference programme at www.prseventeurope.com/prs15/programme