UK recycles more PVC

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

Figures for the first 9 months of 2009 show that just over 20 percent 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. During the same period, 9,212 tons 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, mismeasured windows and cable waste, since the organization began compiling UK statistics in 2005.

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

In financial terms, landfill tax is rising each year and is in addition to disposal costs charged by waste companies.

Last year, nearly 43,000 tons 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 said trends are looking more positive for the final quarter.

Morton said 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,” said Morton.

His comments are echoed by Ian Murray, MD, of Manchester-based Recovinyl-accredited PVC Recycling Ltd, which specializes in reprocessing 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,” said Murray. “In fact, October was one of our best months as we recycled 364 tons.”

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 percent to the European total of nearly 195,000 tons by recycling nearly 43,000 tons of post-consumer PVC in 2008. In 2007, 42,162 tons of post-consumer PVC from the UK was recycled.