In 2 007 the volume of post-consumer PVC waste being recycled across Europe, mainly through the Recovinyl system as part of the industry Vinyl 2 010 voluntary commitment, reached 1 49,500 tonnes.
This represents an 80% increase on 2 006 levels, when 83,000 tonnes were recycled and continues the strong growth in PVC recycling seen in the previous two years which saw the volume of Vinyl 2 010 sponsored recycling doubling each year. The Vinyl 2 010 target for 2 010 is for the recycling of 200,000 tonnes of post-consumer PVC waste (in addition to regulated waste streams and to the volumes recycled in 2000). There are now collection and recycling systems for PVC products in many European countries.
Since many PVC applications like window frames and pipes are long-life products that can last for many decades the quantity of end-of-life material is currently limited. Larger quantities of waste material are therefore only expected in the future. Nevertheless, adequate recycling capacities are already being provided for.
In professional recycling all plastic windows, including fittings and glass, are pre-crushed in a shredder. By means of special separators all metal components and glass are excluded from the material flow. Subsequently all PVC, which at first exists as coarse grinding stock of 1 5-25 millimetres in diameter, is hackled to fine grain size in a cutting mill.
Additional separation – and processing – steps for quality improvement follow in line.