The PVC Product Stewardship Program overseen by the Vinyl Council of Australia is an industry-wide voluntary program launched by the PVC industry in 2002 to address environmental concerns.
Comprising of members drawn across the supply chain of the vinyl industry, the Vinyl Council of Australia works to advance the sustainability of the vinyl (or PVC) industry in Australia.
The PVC Product Stewardship Program has resulted in significant environmental advances in the Australian PVC industry since its launch. The banner and signage industry in Australia may now benefit from such progress with the first company in the sector, Rojo Pacific Pty Ltd signing up to the program.
The 34 signatories to the PVC Product Stewardship Program are drawn from across the value chain of the vinyl industry in Australia including manufacturers, importers and suppliers.
The PVC Product Stewardship Program is a series of commitments agreed to by signatory companies, which includes setting realistic timeframes for the delivery of key undertakings in manufacturing, safe use of additives, waste management, lifecycle thinking, research and public reporting.
While PVC has been the subject of environmental concerns, its versatility and properties including durability, ink adhesion, outdoor strength, UV stability, flexible finishing options, weld-ability and opacity have proven to be very useful to the signage industry.
The program seeks to address these environmental concerns by building on the polymer’s inherent strengths and making PVC products more sustainable.
Key outcomes of the PVC Product Stewardship Program:
- Phased out the use of lead and cadmium
- Reduced manufacturing emissions to world’s best practice
- Improved environmental management of operations
- Adopted life cycle thinking in developing new products
- Commenced innovative recycling programs such as Rojo Pacific’s current recycling trials for post-consumer PVC sheeting
According to Ms Sophi MacMillan, Chief Executive of the Vinyl Council of Australia, the voluntary product stewardship approach has helped achieve real progress across various PVC industries by enabling the sector to work together with supply chains and stakeholders to address the environmental footprint of its products.
The PVC products by signatories to the program offer clear environmental advantages because of the commitment to responsible manufacturing and product life cycles.
The vinyl industry is addressing several historical concerns related to manufacturing emissions, additives and end-of-life waste and disposal. This progress is being recognised by organisations such as the Green Building Council of Australia that recently reviewed the issue of PVC use in green buildings.
The organisation recognises the use of PVC products that achieve best practice performance across the product’s life cycle in Green Star projects.
According to the Green Building Council’s report, Background and Outcomes of the Green Star PVC Credit Minimisation Credit Review, environmental and human health risks associated with PVC can be minimised by using best practices in the manufacturing and end-of-life management phases of the PVC life cycle.
Life cycle assessments have repeatedly shown that PVC products outperform alternatives on a whole-of-life basis. PVC is considered one of the least energy intensive of all thermoplastics and vinyl products.
Additionally, it performs well in terms of fitness for purpose and life cycle cost. Thanks to choosing best practice PVC products, vinyl also has a credible environmental record.