The Vinyl Council of Australia is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year amid on-going progress in guiding the continuous improvement and sustainable development of the Australian PVC industry.
Founded in 1998, the nation’s peak association for the PVC value chain has made great strides in changing perceptions and advancing the material’s sustainability over the past two decades.
Key achievements include the 2002 launch of the PVC Stewardship Program (PSP) that has been fostering advancements in innovation and sustainability throughout the Australian PVC industry, for both locally-made and imported products and the introduction of the Best Practice PVC third party accreditation scheme for products.
Recognised in rating tools such as Green Star and public and private procurement policies, Best Practice PVC requires strict compliance and has driven change through product global supply chains.
Acknowledged as one of the longest-standing product stewardship programs in Australia with a full life cycle approach, the PSP currently has 47 Signatories representing the majority of the Australian PVC industry. All are committed to driving positive measurable change in five key areas, such as transparency, resource efficiency and safe and sustainable use of additives.
The information and data collected through the program has helped inform industry and stakeholders, influence product design and ensure the Australian PVC industry continues to innovate.
Industry successes include the most stringent manufacturing benchmarks for raw material suppliers; a 98% reduction in lead additive use by Signatories since 2002; compliance by 90% of Signatories with the PVC Industry Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Charter; growing use of PVC recyclate in products placed in the market; research and development of innovative solutions for recycling PVC coated fabrics; and initiation of the recycling of medical devices. As the program evolves year to year, industry is driven to improve performance and reduce the environmental footprint of vinyl products along the entire value chain.
The Council’s thriving PVC Recycling in Hospitals program now operates in 160 hospitals throughout Australia and New Zealand, recycling more than 200 tonnes of high-grade PVC waste each year into new goods, such as playground mats and garden hose. Design of new product applications for the recyclate is currently being explored.
Vinyl Council Chief Executive Sophi MacMillan comments: “We have made major progress over the past two decades with some significant breakthroughs, both in how PVC is perceived and how it is increasingly being specified for sustainable applications. Through our ‘whole of life approach’ to PVC stewardship, today’s vinyl is a sound material choice.”
We have achieved this as an industry, continues Sophi, by ‘working together through a public voluntary commitment to address key aspects of the product life cycle based on credible science and life cycle assessments’.
As a low carbon and durable plastic, PVC provides solutions through its track record of stewardship, alignment with several global Sustainability Development Goals and its potential for circularity. Each tonne of recycled PVC will replace about one tonne of virgin PVC compound in new products, consuming 80% less energy and reducing carbon emissions.
In providing the platform to share information and engage with stakeholders, the PSP has developed partnerships and collaborations that are driving change through the industry and better understanding of supply chains for vinyl products placed on the Australian market.
Sophi adds: “In our 20th anniversary year, we are immensely proud of how far we’ve come on our continuous and evolving journey towards a circular economy for vinyl.”
A new house in a Melbourne suburban street has demonstrated that affordable Passive House construction looks within reach in Australia.
Until now passive houses were priced well beyond the means of ordinary Australians, and scared off both builders and home buyers. But retirees Sue and Peter, builder RMH homes, passive house certifier Grun Consulting, and uPVC windows supplier VUE Windows have produced an elegant, spacious home that looks like any normal new build. Unlike those normal new builds, however, the home will produce stellar results in terms of thermal comfort and energy efficiency. In doing so, they have opened the door to more affordable, comfortable, high performing homes in Australia.
The house features an expansive wall consisting of 32.45 square metres of uPVC double glazed windows and doors across the north-facing living and kitchen areas, including openable fanlight windows at ceiling height for purging hot summer air.
The argon filled double glazed uPVC windows achieve excellent insulation value of Uw 1.37 and a solar heat gain co-efficiency (SHGC) of 0.58, allowing winter sunshine to penetrate but not too much solar radiation in summer.
Read the full article about this house, published in Sourceable.net.
Vinyl floor coverings
PVC is the most common polymer used for sheet and tile flooring. Vinyl resilient flooring is widely used in Australian hospitals, schools, sporting clubs and commercial kitchens where slip resistance and high levels of safety and hygiene are required. It is hard wearing, warm underfoot, cost-effective and easy to keep clean as it has a pore-free surface.
Vinyl floors are low maintenance, need no polishing or treating and are hygienic and fire resistant. Sheets are joined together by heat welding which prevents water or moisture from seeping through gaps and therefore are ideal for wet floor areas such as in healthcare facilities.
Resilient vinyl flooring - both sheet and tile - has become a valued design tool for many interior designers and architects, particularly those designing for heavy-traffic locations such as retail stores, or for rooms where hygiene is especially important such as a hospital operating room.
Vinyl coated wall papers
Vinyl coated wallpapers and fabrics offer durable, long lasting, washable wall coverings.
The product is commonly made by applying a liquid coat of hot PVC over a paper base. Alternative types include those where a solid sheet of decorative vinyl is fixed to a paper backing, and those where fabric is laminated with a solid vinyl sheet.
All are easy to clean and resistant to heat and humidity making them a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. They are also easy to strip from walls.
Use of vinyl wall coverings has had a resurgence for both residential and commercial interiors, driven by interior designers and architects seeking more original and exciting design options. The reasons for vinyl's growth are both aesthetic and practical - vinyl wallcoverings offer a wide range of finishes and colours with enhanced durability.
The Vinyl Council of Australia believes that vinyl products have a valuable role to play in a sustainable society.
The Council is a member-based organisation established in June 1998. It acts as the peak organisation representing the Australian PVC, or vinyl, value chain. Our members are drawn from across the supply chain of the vinyl industry in Australia, representing a wide range of products.
The Vinyl Council is working to advance the sustainability of the PVC industry in Australia through sharing information on, and engaging with stakeholders regarding the life cycle of PVC.
The Council advocates the responsible manufacture, use and disposal of PVC products. It aims to foster cooperation between member companies, governments and organisations to increase the understanding of the PVC life cycle.
The Council provides members with a forum where they can seek information and support for the advancement of the industry.