040 GGP 0813

GGP August 2013

SPEAKERSCORNER VinylPlus – the way forward Having been associated with the programme, via the British Plastics Federation, since its inception, Martin Althorpe, technical director at Epwin Window Systems Division looks at the future of VinylPlus. The history of VinylPlus can be traced back as far as 1995 when the PVC resin producers (ECVM members) signed the first European PVC Industry Charter. By 2000 it was becoming apparent that the PVC industry needed to move towards sustainability; the blueprint for achieving this would be a programme of change delivered over a ten year period. Vinyl 2010 set specific targets; including minimising the environmental impact of production, encouraging responsible use of additives and developing collection and recycling schemes. All of which would be overseen by an independent monitoring committee in conjunction with the industry issuing an annual report on progress. Vinyl 2010 not only succeeded, but also surpassed all its performance targets. In 2011, at the Brighton PVC conference, it was agreed to continue the work and VinylPlus was created with a far-ranging vision that required an open, collaborative and innovative approach to sustainability. VINYLPLUS VinylPlus is working and the industry is making bold steps in the right direction. Currently, the focus for VinylPlus is very much centred on raising awareness of sustainability. In 2011, VinylPlus created a labelling and certification task force, the remit of which was to screen, evaluate and design a product label working with ISO standards. The aim would be to allow end users to better identify PVC products that make exceptional contributions to sustainable development and processes. This sends out a strong message to the end user that sustainability is at the core of the industry’s intent. A fundamental element of qualification for being able to label products is compliance to BRE’s BES6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation scheme. Epwin Window Systems Division has held BES6001 accreditation since mid 2012, so it was no surprise that a trial VinylPlus audit showed that Epwin would be able to use the VinylPlus Label, if it existed. The current issue of how the labelling is going to be rolled out is a thorny one. VinylPlus has been in discussions with all industry related groups and associations, all of whom have submitted their proposals for label management. Having considered this, we think a better way for VinylPlus to roll out the product label would be to follow a process similar to that of the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), for timber. HOW IT COULD WORK Raw material producers need to get involved and blaze a trail for the convertors to follow. It should be reasonable to expect that using VinylPlus labelled material would help to gain qualification for a finished product. This would build a chain of custody from material origination through to product end user that would clearly demonstrate sustainability credentials. The issue is an important one as any information issued, (including labelling) must be rigorously verified giving end users confidence that the product being invested in is compliant. VinylPlus needs to focus on more clarity and not overcomplicate what is already a complex issue. 40 August 2013 Glass & Glazing Products


GGP August 2013
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