Opinion

PVC compliance rises to new heights

The record set for compliance under the Vinyl Council of Australia’s (VCA) PVC Stewardship Program (PSP) has again been broken in the 2021 reporting year, furthering the ongoing streak of sustainable development seen under the program since its inception in 2002. In the latest assessment of 2021 calendar year performance, 26 signatories demonstrated full compliance with all relevant commitments aimed at furthering the safety and sustainability of the PVC industry in Australia.

“Over half of the current PSP Signatories achieved Excellence in Stewardship, a clear indication that the industry continues to strive for improvement, despite the recent COVID-related challenges,” says Vinyl Council of Australia Industry Sustainability Officer, Alexander Scott.

Thirteen other companies achieved Silver status, ensuring that the key VCA milestone of 80 per cent of signatories achieving above 80 per cent compliance was once again met. Further growth in scores was achieved by several Bronze Signatories as well, with the VCA hoping to see continued development in the upcoming year.

Continuing the trend from previous years, domestic PVC recyclate consumption by signatories has once again increased, with over 1,657 tonnes of external recyclate consumed – a 17 per cent increase from 2020 levels. For the first time, recyclate sold to non-Signatories was also measured, with a further 1,473 tonnes reported.

“This represents the continued commitment of the Australian PVC industry to embrace more circular practices and reduce their reliance on raw materials. Reporting on broader industry recyclate consumption also allows the VCA to gather a greater understanding of the current desire for recycled content in local manufacturing,” continues Alexander.

As part of the drive of innovation in PVC recycling, the VCA and Specialised Textile Association’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund-supported TexBack project has continued to progress. As part of the project, a Materials Flows Analysis on the consumption and waste volumes and locations of PVC-polyester textile products in Australia has been completed, while a world-first separation technology trial and business case and scheme design for a sustainable product stewardship scheme for these materials is currently in progress, with promising results thus far. The project is on track to be completed later this year.

PVC is a particularly versatile and durable polymer, providing safe, functional and affordable solutions across a wide array of vital applications, from delivering drinking water to life-saving medical devices. The PSP program addresses specific, measurable commitments across the life cycle of PVC, including raw materials, manufacturing, supply chains, additives, waste and recycling.

A key component of the program concerns the continued development of the PSP through updated benchmarks or the introduction of new commitments. The Vinyl Council and its Signatories are in strong discussions around the update of the Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Management commitment to better reflect the rapidly evolving expectations around renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. In addition, updating requirements within Open Disclosure to include a greater focus on ‘chemicals of concern’ is also likely to be introduced for the next reporting period.

“We would like to congratulate our three newest Signatories, Dincel Construction Systems, IXOM Operations and Plascorp for all achieving at least Bronze status, with IXOM achieving Excellence a noteworthy achievement. We look forward to welcoming more Signatories to the program moving forward and witnessing the sustainable development all Signatories continue to undertake,” concludes Alexander.

Any company manufacturing or supplying PVC, or vinyl, products to the Australian market is welcome to participate in the PVC Stewardship Program.

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