In a circular economy, the value of the products, materials and resources is kept as long as possible, the production of waste is minimised and innovation is at the centre of the entire value chain.
As outlined by the European Commission, this can be achieved in various ways, for example:
- reducing the quantity of materials required to deliver a particular service (lightweighting),
- increasing the useful life of the products (durability),
- reducing the consumption of energy and materials during production and use (efficiency),
- reducing the use substances or processes which create barriers for recycling (substitution).
The circular economy encompasses the concept of ‘doing more with less’: in other words, create more value with less environmental impact and higher economic efficiency.
With its sustainability programmes, the European PVC industry is well positioned to steadily moving towards a true model of circular economy.
PVC is intrinsically a ‘low carbon’ plastic (57% of its molecular weight is chlorine derived from common salt, 5% is hydrogen and 38% is carbon), and the consumption of primary energy in the manufacturing phase is low.
Through the VinylPlus initiative, the European PVC industry seeks to further reduce progressively GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions along the entire production chain.
This includes identifying and measuring the GHG footprint of all components and production processes; establishing GHG reduction targets; endeavouring to increase use of renewable energy and of technologies to enhance the efficiency of materials used.