A record 20 Signatory companies have achieved Excellence status under the Australian PVC Stewardship Program by demonstrating full compliance with key environmental objectives applicable to their businesses.
Launched in 2002, the Vinyl Council of Australia’s voluntary program commits participants to strive for continuous improvement in environmental and health outcomes by meeting a series of challenging targets and standards related to the life cycle of PVC products.
Progress reported by 45 Signatories towards greater sustainability throughout 2018 is summarised in the latest PVC Stewardship Program annual report. Of these, Baerlocher (M) SND BHD and Brenntag Australia have made the most outstanding improvement.
To achieve Excellence status, Signatories must comply with a set of stringent criteria that also requires them to question their suppliers’ as well as their own performance. This covers safe and sustainable use of additives; reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency, best practice manufacturing, and transparency and engagement.
Acknowledging the successful efforts of the 2018 Excellence in PVC Stewardship award winners, Sophi MacMillan, Chief Executive of the Vinyl Council of Australia said: “We’re delighted that a record number of Signatories have achieved Excellence; it’s the most since we implemented the program and in an environment where we are continually raising the bar for Excellence.
“It is also great to see year on year growth in the number of organisations joining the program, which is an indicator of its value to the industry and its position in the marketplace.”
Sophi highlighted how the success of the Vinyl Council’s program can be measured by an increased number of Signatories (84% in 2018, compared to 68% in 2017) who have embedded its environmental commitments into their respective business management systems.
“This speaks to a cultural change in the sector whereby product stewardship sits at the heart of good business practice,” she added.
Recycling figures continue their upward trend under the program’s goal to drive greater recovery of end-of-life PVC and uptake of recycled PVC content. In 2018, 719,336 kilograms of locally sourced PVC recyclate was used by Signatories in new goods, up from 633,392 kilograms in 2017 and 365,609 in 2016.
The Council’s PVC Circularity Taskforce is further strengthening the industry’s push for enhanced sustainability. Made up of industry and government representatives, the Taskforce provides leadership and guidance on enhancing recycling and recovery of PVC in Australia along circular economy principles.
Initiatives pursued by the Vinyl Council that support its overall vision include the VersrTile project, funded by industry and a $20,000 grant via the Melbourne Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group. The project identified a potential reuse for waste billboard skins in durable prototype roof tiles, without the need to separate the polyester fibre from the vinyl.
In the healthcare sector, the successful PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program continues to grow with more than 175 hospitals collecting up to 15 tonnes of medical grade PVC waste per month for recycling into new products, such as garden hose and outdoor playground matting.