The Vinyl Council’s PVC Stewardship Program (PSP) represents an ongoing, voluntary undertaking by the Australian PVC industry to recognise and address relevant environmental, health and safety aspects within the lifecycle of PVC products. PSP Signatories from across the PVC value chain strive to meet a range of stringent commitments in the consumption and manufacturing of raw materials, safe and sustainable use of additives, energy efficiency & greenhouse gas management and resource efficiency.
The PSP was originally developed following a VCA-commissioned CSIRO review into the life cycle of PVC products and potential concerns during 2001, with the review’s initial findings along with extensive stakeholder consultation forming the basis for the program which was launched in 2002. In essence, the program aims to enable all parties involved in the life cycle of PVC, including raw material suppliers, product manufacturers and distributors, to play a role as joint stewards of the safe and beneficial production, use, re-use, and disposal of PVC products.
Now 20 years on, the PSP continues to be a key vehicle to help drive the circular economy for PVC in Australia, with over 50 Signatory companies signed up from across the PVC value chain including market-leaders in the industry. Over the years the program has had a direct impact in helping to inform industry members and stakeholders of best-practice methods and support continued innovation. Achievements include reduced Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) emissions from manufacturing, phasing out lead and cadmium-based additives, improvements in recycling and waste management and avoidance of mercury in upstream processes.
With PSP Signatories required to report annually on their progress in reaching all relevant commitments in the program, results over recent years have continued to drive manufacturing standards to new heights as the PVC industry endeavours to meet increased societal expectations surrounding the environmental and social impacts of products and materials.
Over 50% of Signatories achieved Excellence (full compliance) with PSP commitments in the latest reporting period, while eighty percent achieved at least 80% compliance with program commitments relevant to their business, marking the fourth year in a row that this key program milestone has been reached. Reflecting the industry’s ongoing focus on delivering a circular economy for PVC and avoidance of loss of valuable resources to landfill, one of the key achievements over recent years has been increasing PVC recyclate use, with over 1.6 million kilograms of recycled PVC used by Signatories in the local manufacture of new products in 2021, while a further 1.1 million kilograms of externally sourced recyclate was used in products imported by Signatories.
Over 5 million kilograms of recycled PVC has now been used by PSP Signatories in products since 2016, with recyclate use by Signatories tripling in the last five years alone as more companies look to source and use recyclate, improve circularity and reduce the carbon footprint of their products as part of the program’s resource efficiency commitments.
With leaders from all sectors of the PVC industry included in the list of current PSP Signatories, the program provides businesses from across the value chain with an opportunity to showcase their ongoing commitment to sustainability and implement the necessary frameworks to manufacture and supply PVC as safely as possible. Leading PVC compounder and extruder RBM Plastic Extrusions, a high-performing PSP Signatory since 2016, pinpoint their involvement in the program to the realisation that the market had moved towards a greener approach “with the only real way to move with that being to be part of the program”.
While the broader PVC industry is familiar with the continuous spotlight on meeting relevant sustainability benchmarks, as pressure from environmental and government organisations continues to intensify it has never been more important to demonstrate to customers and external stakeholders that your company is serious about its commitment to sustainable and safe manufacturing. If your business is interested in securing the future viability of your products, become a Signatory of the PVC Stewardship Program and take the next step. Get in touch with the VCA Office today or find out more by clicking here.