Twenty companies that had committed to the Australian PVC Stewardship Program offered by the Vinyl Council of Australia have attained Excellence status. The 20 signatories achieved this status by demonstrating full compliance with key environmental objectives applicable to their businesses.

Launched in 2002 by the Vinyl Council of Australia, this 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 lifecycle of PVC products. The latest annual report of the PVC Stewardship Program mentions the progress made by 45 signatories towards greater sustainability throughout 2018, and names Baerlocher (M) SND BHD and Brenntag Australia as having 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: These norms include 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.”

According to MacMillan, 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 were 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.