PVC industry fails to address environmental problems.

Feature story - 6 May, 2002
The European vinyl industry proposes a flawed and inadequate voluntary commitment to deal with PVC pollution says Greenpeace

A polluting PVC factory

The industry recently published the second progress report on its voluntary code of conduct "Vinyl 2010", where it claims to place strong emphasis on recycling, yet its overall aim is only 7 percent of post consumer waste by 2010.

The industry also supports incinerating remaining waste despite European Parliament and environmentalist's objections because incineration creates more pollution.

Incinerating PVC creates dioxins, a known human carcinogen that world governments have agreed must be eliminated from the planet.

"The chances of the PVC industry effectively policing itself are zero. Not only is 'Vinyl 2010' a total waste of time, it is a cynical attempt to preserve the industry and its profits, despite overwhelming evidence that the very existence of PVC is damaging human health and the environment," said Greenpeace campaigner Jorgo Iwasaki-Riss.

Greenpeace believes the vinyl industry is throwing up a smokescreen by acting as though the EU has already adopted the voluntary code. Greenpeace warns the adoption of such a flawed plan would leave the European Commission with no credibility.

Some of the inadequate suggestions from 'Vinyl 2010' are:

- No greater commitment to address hazardous discharges during the manufacture of PVC than EU regulations already require;

- No commitment beyond research and risk assessment on phthalates, despite an EU emergency ban already in place on phthalates in children toys; and

- A commitment to phase out lead by 2015, despite alternatives being available now and Sweden succeeding in banning lead already.

The "Vinyl 2010" initiative completely fails to address the fact that recycling is not the answer to the problem of PVC. The continued manufacture, use and disposal of PVC and the raw materials such as chlorine, that are used in the process, are a significant threat to health and the environment. Only the full phase out of PVC and the introduction of sustainable alternatives will prevent further environmental damage from the vinyl industry.