Axion Group

More end of life PVC is recycled, says Recovinyl

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Source: Axion Group

More end-of-life PVC waste is being recycled than ever before, despite the challenging economic times, according to Recovinyl, the PVC industry’s recycling initiative.

Figures for the first nine months of 2009 show that just over 20% more Grade B or end of life material, mainly PVC-U window and door frames that have been removed from properties, was recycled compared to the same period in 2008. In the first nine months of 2009, 9,212 tonnes were collected for recycling, compared to 7,610 for the same period to end of September 2008.

It is the first time that recycling volumes for end of life PVC have overtaken that for other types of PVC waste, such as PVC offcuts, mis-measured windows and cable waste,
since the organisation began compiling UK statistics in 2005.

Describing this as a ‘considerable achievement’, Roger Morton, of Axion Consulting, the scheme’s UK agents, says the figures show that Recovinyl is achieving its original aims. That is to develop markets for post-consumer PVC recyclate in the UK and to promote collection, recycling and re-use of this sustainable material.

“There is definitely an upward trend for end of life PVC recycling as these figures show and we are very pleased that there are more recyclers specialising in this type of waste,” comments Roger.

“It is a considerable achievement and Recovinyl has clearly succeeded in achieving what it set out to do – to promote the recycling and re-use of PVC in new products. Encouraging more companies to recycle, rather than landfill, their PVC waste has great economic and environmental benefits.”

In financial terms, recycling helps window companies to make savings. Landfilling waste PVC-U currently costs between £40 and £100 per tonne. Landfill tax is rising by £8 a year to 2013 and already stands at £40 per tonne. The tax will rise to £48 for each tonne of waste sent to landfill from 1 April 2010 then climb to £56 in 2011, £64 in 2012 and £72 in 2013. That is on top of disposal costs charged by the waste companies.

Last year, nearly 43,000 tonnes of post-use PVC products – mostly PVC-U profile – were recycled in the UK. However, although overall volumes for 2009 are expected to be down,
Recovinyl says trends are looking more positive for the final quarter. Full audited figures will be available at the end of the year.

Roger says volumes of post-consumer PVC waste being recycled have held up well, despite the difficult economic climate and lower levels of activity in the construction sector. “Refurbishment is still happening as evidenced by the increased amount of end-of-life PVC waste arising from the removal of previously-installed PVC products, such as window and door frames,” says Roger.

He adds: “We are also confident about volumes for 2010 as we’ve already seen a slight improvement in the second half of this year. Plus, feedback from Recovinyl members indicates that the market is already picking up.”

His comments are echoed by Ian Murray, MD of Manchester-based Recovinyl-accredited PVC Recycling Ltd, which specialises in re-processing post-consumer PVC frames. Recycled material is used in diverse new applications, from PVC windows and soffits to equestrian fencing.

“Recession or not, we’ve been seeing frames coming in, so companies are fitting new ones – and recycling those coming out,” says Ian. “In fact, October was one of our best months as we recycled 364 tonnes.”

In a report by Vinyl 2010 earlier this year the UK achieved second place out of 15 countries in a European table for recycling PVC post-consumer waste, mainly from the building and construction sectors. The UK contributed more than 21% to the European total of nearly 200,000 tonnes (194,950t) by recycling nearly 43,000 tonnes (42,730t) of post-consumer PVC in 2008. In 2007 42,162 tonnes of post-consumer PVC from the UK was recycled.

For more information, contact Axion Recycling on 0161 426 7731 or visit the website at www.axionrecycling.com.

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