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.
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/.
Advances in technology, sustainability and product stewardship over the last 20 years have helped to transform the PVC sector across Australia and turn vinyl into a ‘sound choice of material’, delegates learnt at PVC AUS 2018: Shaping the Future.
Organised by the Vinyl Council of Australia in its 20th anniversary year, the two-day Sydney event in March shared latest developments in PVC formulations and best practice manufacturing that demonstrate the sector’s commitment to continuous improvement.
The event was supported by headline sponsors Austria-based Greiner Extrusion GmbH, Krauss-Maffei Berstorff from Munich, Germany and Italian machinery manufacturer PlasMec.
Vinyl Council Chief Executive Sophi Macmillan commented: “We are driving continuous improvement through the industry in Australia, for both locally-made and imported products, and this is driving change through PVC product supply chains.
“One of the longest standing product stewardship programs in Australia, our PVC Stewardship Program is leading in many areas. These include its life cycle approach, specific and measurable commitments, transparency, and focus on continuous improvement across the value chain.”
Currently 47 companies are Signatories to the Program, representing the majority of the Australian PVC industry. These companies include manufacturers of PVC resin, additives and end-products, PVC compounders and product importers. Major PVC applications represented in the Program include companies manufacturing or importing packaging, cables, windows, flooring, pipes, formwork, medical products, and profiles.
Among the industry successes Sophi highlighted were: a 99.45% reduction in lead additive use since 2002, the Signatories’ 90% compliance with the PVC Industry Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Charter and several PVC recycling initiatives covering advertising banners, commercial vinyl flooring and medical devices.
In his US perspective on ‘Vinyl for a Purpose-Driven Sustainable Development’, Cristian Barcan, VP Sustainability & Industry Affairs at the Vinyl Institute covered key sustainability progress. This includes a 90% reduction in VCM emissions since 1983 and the elimination of lead and cadmium stabilisers. More than 450,000 tonnes of PVC are recycled annually in the US.
Cristian observed: “Unprecedented challenges lie ahead, we have to change. We don’t have three planets of natural resources; doing more with less is needed to address the needs of the next generation.”
Dr Tracy Wakefield of Plustec Pty Ltd outlined the benefits of uPVC Tilt n Turn windows and how their functionality, in terms of low-maintenance, ease-of-cleaning, security and superior ventilation are the future of windows in Australia – and crucially, suit its climate.
With 85% of windows installed in Australian homes still single-glazed, Gerhard Hoffmann of Greiner Extrusion emphasised how the insect-proof, thermally-efficient, 100% recyclable and corrosion-resistant properties of uPVC windows represent a cost-effective fenestration opportunity.
Advances in formulations were a key topic with Dane Tallen of stabiliser manufacturers Baerlocher exploring how calcium-based solutions could provide cost-effective and sustainable solutions for injection-moulding applications; while Dexter Chan from Arkema discussed the improved performance merits of acrylic impact modifiers in replacing chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) in rigid PVC.
Several updates on technology developments in the Australian PVC sector included a new chemical technology to separate PVC and laminated materials. Dennis Collins from PVC Separation explained how their two-stage chemical and environmentally-friendly process works for a variety of materials recycling, from PVC construction products to shoes, medical and food packaging items.
Dario Soncin of PlasMec covered latest developments in PVC dry blend preparation that can contribute to energy savings. Following him, Christian Birzer of Krauss-Maffei Berstorff revealed interesting advances in plastic processing machinery, including increasing the speed limit for pipe, increasing the production density and flexibility of pelletizing and narrowing the limits for u-PVC sheet extrusion.
Arjen Sevenster, Technical and Environmental Affairs Senior Manager at the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) highlighted major sustainability progress in the European PVC industry and how the VinylPlus Voluntary Commitment is supporting the Circular Economy objectives for PVC.
Summing up, Sophi concluded: “With a high calibre of speakers and content, our conference attracted nearly 150 people and has been a huge success. It has demonstrated that PVC, as a durable, low-carbon plastic with the potential for circularity, can contribute to shaping a more sustainable future for all.”
Vinyl Council CEO Sophi MacMillan with Senator Kim Carr
Terence Jeyaretnam, EY
Gerhard Hoffmann, Greiner Extrusion