News Article

PVC Waste Audit

The Vinyl Council, on behalf of the Signatories of the PVC industry’s Product Stewardship Program, commissioned a national PVC Waste Audit. The Audit was conducted by Nolan ITU in 2005 to understand and gather data on the amount of PVC waste entering the waste stream in Australia annually.

The major proportion of PVC resin is consumed in long life applications which take years to enter the waste stream. Based on historical resin consumption by application going back to the 1940s and average service life times for each application, the Audit estimated how much of each application would be entering the waste stream today and going forward to 2015.

The Audit is the most comprehensive study to date on the quantities of PVC waste currently generated in Australia. Data was obtained from importers and exporters, manufacturers, converters and recyclers.

The findings from data collected for the calendar year 2004 were:

  • Less than one per cent of the 16-20 million tonnes of waste sent to landfill each year in Australia was PVC
  • 3.4 per cent of the total quantity of PVC products still in use were products at the end-of-life
  • 158,300 tonnes of end-of-life PVC product was available for recovery
  • 10,035 tonnes of PVC recyclate was made from the PVC waste collected in existing recycling programs.

The audit suggested priorities for PVC recovery based on the amount of available end-of-life PVC by application, ease of recovery, current infrastructure, and technical issues in the recycling process.

The Product Stewardship Program has subsequently launched an action plan, Vinyl-2-Life and a Industry Strategy to investigate barriers to recycling in the priority applications, set objectives and strategies and assist in the development of infrastructure for material recovery.