VinylPlus makes ongoing progress with PVC sustainability
Over the past 15 years, PVC has undergone a remarkable transformation from being a much-maligned plastic material to playing an important role in addressing climate change and establishing a circular economy.
Today the vinyl industry is seen as a role model for tackling sustainability challenges and its developmental journey so far, driven by the European PVC industry’s voluntary commitments Vinyl 2010 and VinylPlus, is revealed in its latest report.
‘On the Road to Sustainability: The Ongoing Progress of VinylPlus’ tells the story of how PVC has been recognised as a material for the future due to the durability, full recyclability and low carbon footprint of most PVC products.
Launched in March 2000, the ten-year Vinyl 2010 programme kick-started the recycling of more than one million tonnes of PVC waste in Europe throughout that decade. A significant achievement considering that no infrastructure existed in 1999 and that the material was then widely regarded as ‘unrecyclable’. Recycling of PVC benefits the environment and economy as the material can be recycled up to seven times without loss of performance, conserving valuable resources and raw materials.
Emissions of vinyl chloride monomer and dioxins during manufacturing decreased dramatically under Vinyl 2010, the report highlights, while the use of cadmium-based stabilisers ended in 2001.
VinylPlus was formed in June 2011 to build on the achievements of Vinyl 2010 with a bold vision of making PVC truly sustainable. The VinylPlus programme comprises 30 measurable and concrete targets organised around five challenges. It is based on The Natural Step System Conditions for a Sustainable Society; an internationally-recognised method for sustainability planning that integrates the science of sustainability with business decision-making.
Crucially, this new way of thinking looks at PVC holistically. Not just how it is manufactured and disposed of, but also how PVC can contribute to a sustainable society where economic growth and human wellbeing fit with reduced natural resource consumption.
Midway through this 10-year programme, progress is being made on all the five challenges and some targets have already been met. Recycling is a top priority. In 2014 alone, 481,018 tonnes of PVC waste, 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.
The use of lead-based stabilisers decreased by 86% in the EU-28 between 2007 and 2014 and is on track to complete replacement by the end of 2015. Energy consumption by PVC resin producers has also fallen by 10.2% in line with the 20% reduction by 2020 target.
“Judging by our substantial progress to date, it is clear that the European PVC industry is on the path to sustainability and has impressed the outside world with its voluntary commitment that enables economic growth and job creation with taking care of the planet’s future,” says Brigitte Dero, VinylPlus general manager.
“Further proof of how far we’ve come is the London 2012 Olympic Games. The organisers, wanting the Games to be the greenest in history, specified strict sustainability requirements for materials used. Many tonnes of PVC manufactured in accordance with VinylPlus principles were used in the buildings and some of the PVC was recycled or reused afterwards. Thanks to our efforts, PVC can today be considered an Olympic material.”
VinylPlus is the renewed ten-year Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry. The programme establishes a long-term framework for the sustainable development of the PVC industry by tackling a number of critical challenges in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland. Its target is to recycle 800,000 tonnes of PVC per year by 2020.
Nordic Ecolabel awarded to large numbers of Fujifilm’s Uvijet UV inks
A large number of inks within the Fujifilm Uvijet UV range for wide format print applications have been awarded the Nordic Ecolabel certification. The Nordic Ecolabel is a well-established and internationally recognised environmental labelling scheme that contributes to sustainable consumption and helps consumers identify environmentally-friendly products.
Carole Noutary, Technical manager R&D at FSIS says: “The Nordic Ecolabel certification is another testimony to how Fujifilm’s UV inkjet technologies support wide format printers in their efforts to minimise their environmental footprint and achieve best practice in sustainable print production. This is an important certification to add to the extensive list of recent manufacturing awards, and is recognition of our quality-led processes and environmental commitment.”
Recent awards include: ‘Sustainable Innovation’, ‘Manufacturing Champions’ and ‘Best Process Plant’.
PVC free film printed with Mutoh UMS inks gains Indoor Air Comfort Certificate
Eurofins - an independent organisation for Volatile Organic Chemical (VOC) product emission testing – has awarded Mutoh and Grafityp an Indoor Air Comfort Certificate (IAC) for the Grafityp Ecological non-PVC self-adhesive film (GEF-ES) printed with Mutoh Universal Mild Solvent (UMS) inks.
The product certificate guarantees full compliance with all regulations on VOC emissions into indoor air that exist in any EU Member state. Certification involved test chamber testing of printed film with maximum possible ink coverage, VOC measurement for some 200 VOCs after 3 and 28 days as well as an in-depth third party audit of the production sites.
Stephan Heintjens, Mutoh Belgium’s Product Development manager says: “Our UMS inks have been specifically formulated to offer a unique and innovative blend of high quality durable colour pigments, a new mix of resins and, last but not least, a new combination of milder and non-aggressive solvents.”
Several EU Member States require documentation of product emissions of VOCs, with CE marking of construction products and wall coverings including digitally printed self-adhesive non-PVC film is expected to follow soon.
Reinhard Oppl, Head of Eurofins’ Certification body says: “The Indoor Air Comfort product certification implies compliance with emission requirements of all applicable specifications issued by authorities in the EU Member States covering Belgian regulation, French regulation class A, German regulation AgBB, upcoming Lithianian regulation and E1 classification (recommended for production of home furniture and wooden floorings). After issuing the certificate, we are also following up with repeated audits to ensure continuous low emission values.”
Free biodegradable gloves for World Environment Day
The United Nations’ ‘World Environment Day’ is promoted worldwide to raise awareness of environmental issues and to encourage political action. The theme behind the 2015 event is ‘Seven Billion Dreams . One Planet. Consume with Care’.
Having launched the world’s first biodegradable nitrile disposable glove, the Showa 6105PF GREEN-DEX last year in the UK and Ireland, Globus is now launching the world’s first biodegradable, nitrile grip glove, the Showa 4552.
Both gloves biodegrade fully in biologically-active landfills thus providing effective hand protection solutions whilst bolstering environmental credentials and green purchasing policies.
Follow the web link below to claim your free pair of Showa 4552 gloves (above) before 12th June 2015.
Mimaki awarded Greenguard Gold Certification for its inks
Mimaki has been awarded the Greenguard Gold Certification for its inks thereby making the inks entirely suitable for a wide range of applications, including those in schools, healthcare or similarly sensitive environments.
Greenguard Certification requires stringent emissions criteria to be met in addition to verification of numerous other technical requirements before certification can be awarded. After initial certification, on-going testing, documentation, and verification processes are required for demonstration of consistent product performance.
“In order to comply with the Greenguard requirements, a company needs to invest in extensive R&D efforts and ongoing commitment to develop the most technologically advanced, as well as the safest inks,” says Mimaki’s Mike Horsten. “The reach of Mimaki products is growing at a phenomenal rate. This certification offers us, our customers and the general public peace of mind and extra assurances that our print solutions are entirely suitable for a wide range of applications, including those in schools, healthcare or similarly sensitive environments.”
The Greenguard Gold Certification demands stricter certification criteria and considers safety factors to ensure that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as educational and medical facilities. Greenguard Certification is part of UL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories). As an ISO-IEC Guide 65:1996 accredited, third-party certifying body, the Greenguard Environmental Institute issues the Greenguard Certification to help manufacturers create - and help buyers identify - superior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in environments in which the products are used.
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