Vinyl and the Circular Economy
In a circular economy, resource use, emissions and waste generation are minimised by closing material and energy loops. This can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling.
The EU Circular Economy Action Plan reaffirms the need to increase plastics recycling as part of the overall transition to a circular economy.
VFSE is convinced that the Circular Economy Package is an opportunity for European leaders to confirm and reinforce the many advantages of PVC recycling in areas ranging from employment to resource efficiency.
VFSE works together with its partners VinylPlus and RecoVinyl to promote the recycling of PVC and contributes to the circular economy by ensuring continuous progress towards clearly defined sustainability goals. It is essential to make sure that valuable materials such as PVC remain within the circular economy.
Recycling of PVC
PVC has inherent sustainability characteristics. Made from rock salt (57%) and oil (43%), it contains less carbon than most major thermoplastics. It is also highly durable and energy efficient across a range of applications which makes for an extremely effective use of raw materials and avoids unnecessary depletion of natural resources.
As more than half of the weight of PVC is composed of chlorine, its feedstock energy is about half the feedstock energy needed for the plastics based mainly on hydrocarbons. The sum of process and feedstock energy is therefore below the corresponding sum for these other polymers. CO2 emissions from PVC production processes are similar to other major polymers.
PVC can be recycled repeatedly up to 8 times depending on the application, because the recycling process does not measurably decrease the chain length of PVC molecules. The European industry has been working very hard to boost collection of PVC waste and to optimise recycling technologies. The goal is to minimise waste and energy use while boosting the percentage of recyclate in new products.
VinylPlus Committed to
VinylPlus is the voluntary sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry. It aims at creating a long-term sustainability framework for the entire PVC value chain. The regional scope of our 10-year programme is the EU-28 plus Norway and Switzerland.
Recovinyl is an initiative of the European PVC industry. The organisation was created to advance the sustainable development of the PVC industry by improving production processes, minimise emissions, develop recycling technology and boost the collection and recycling of waste.
Its target: to stimulate and certify the use of recycled PVC to contribute to the 800,000 tonnes recycling target of the VinylPlus Voluntary Commitment.