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The Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) and the United States Vinyl Sustainability Council (VSC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore a pathway to reciprocity between the two sustainability programs by sharing best practices and collaborating on sustainability program development.

Collaboration between the VCA’s PVC Stewardship Program and VSC’s +Vantage Vinyl™ program seeks to promote global harmonization, broaden recognition of industry leaders, and increase industry participation in these sustainability programs.

“While circumstances vary regionally, sustainability is a global issue and vinyl products participate in a global market,” said Sophi MacMillan, VCA Chief Executive. “It is in the best interest of the industry and society to work across borders to help the vinyl industry to continue to make progress.”

Trade association-led sustainability programs serve an important function to advance voluntary improvements in the industry. Working together, member companies can share best practices leading to continuous improvement throughout the industry.

“Many of our members do business throughout the world,” said Jay Thomas, VSC Executive Director. “Developing a pathway to reciprocity between the various sustainability programs will foster progress by easing the administration burden on companies and encouraging more participation. Increased program participation is a key factor in advancing the sustainability of the industry.”

Companies participating in the PVC Stewardship Program and +Vantage Vinyl programs agree to transparent voluntary commitments and guiding principles of sustainability that are measured and reported on an annual basis. The programs are designed to be inclusive for companies at any stage of the sustainability journey but encourage continuous improvement. The overall performance of member companies is reflected in annual sustainability reporting.

To learn more about the PVC Stewardship Program visit https://www.vinyl.org.au/sustainability/stewardship and https://vantagevinyl.com for more information about +Vantage Vinyl.

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About the Vinyl Sustainability Council
The Vinyl Sustainability Council (VSC), founded in 2016 in partnership with the Vinyl Institute, is a council created to advance the vinyl industry’s efforts in addressing sustainability in the United States. The VSC is a collaborative platform for companies, organizations and other industry stakeholders to come together to create a sustainable development path for the industry. For more information, please visit vantagevinyl.com/vinyl-sustainability-council/.

The Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) and its project partner, Specialised Textiles Association (STA) have secured Government grant funding of nearly $350,000 to further research into the recycling of waste PVC and polyester composite textile products in Australia.

Their TexBack project is one of only 15 successful grant applications (out of a total 190 submissions) and will receive $349,850 from the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (NPSIF). The Government’s funding program was launched to promote and stimulate shared action for everyday products with a focus on working to reduce waste generation and increased resource recovery.

‘TexBack’ is an industry-driven initiative which aims to steward polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-polyester (PES) composite textile products and waste which are currently not recovered in Australia.

The Morrison Government’s grant will fund the development of the business case for a national product stewardship scheme for textiles such as grain covers, tarpaulins, advertising banners, tents and marquees, roofing and grounds sheets, truck tarps, marine fabrics, swimming pool liners and upholstery fabrics. The project covers a range of activities, including testing of a new chemical separation technology, that will enable the specialised textiles and vinyl sectors to address the growing concerns of waste ending up in landfill.

The NPSIF has projected 1.5 million tonnes of waste to be diverted from landfill through the initiative and will further boost the economy by creating more than 560 potential jobs.

Developing a uniquely Australian solution will pave the way for the establishment of a new, industry-led product stewardship scheme that recovers a complex local waste stream, reprocesses it within Australia and supports the local manufacture of an innovative recycled content PVC building product being developed here, with export market potential. Local markets for recovered polyester will also be sought.

Welcoming the grant, the Vinyl Council of Australia’s PVC Stewardship Manager, Jan van de Graaff said: “TexBack will build on earlier VCA-led research into potential recycling options of PVC coated fabrics conducted over the past four years.

“This grant now gives VCA and STA a real opportunity to collaborate to engage the textile sector in developing a viable scheme for recovery and reprocessing of this waste stream, particularly as there is a potential end-use for the material that will lead to manufacturing of a completely new durable building product in Australia.”

Ana Drougas, Executive Office for the STA said “We are excited to be working with the VCA in an Australian first project to pilot the introduction of innovative and uniquely Australian world-leading PVC Separation technology. We acknowledge and commend the Commonwealth Government for elevating the status of product stewardship as a means of addressing environmental sustainability, growing jobs and the economy.”

In announcing the grant recipients, Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said: “We have made it clear that industry needs to take action for their waste. We are investing $10.5 million to seed 11 new and expand four existing industry-led initiatives that will make a practical environmental difference and it is great to see industry respond strongly to our call.”

“Our seed funding, along with the reforms in our Recycling Act, empowers industry and product experts to take more responsibility for their products,” said Hon Trevor Evans MP Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Assistant Minister.

“The grants were six-times oversubscribed which clearly shows the appetite in Australia for putting the power of recycling into the hands of businesses and consumers.”

For more information on the funded product stewardship schemes, visit: https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/product-stewardship/national-product-stewardship-investment-fund