PVC products provide vital help

For more than 60 years vinyl products have been successfully used in the healthcare sector and are indispensable to protect life. This is also evident in view of the current corona pandemic and is demonstrated by the wide range of medical applications, such as pharmaceutical blister trays for medicines, infusion tubes, blood bags, respiratory masks and tubing, tubing for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation of blood (ECMO), disposable protective gloves or other components of medical equipment.

The range of high-performance PVC products in the healthcare sector is wide and is constantly being expanded with new applications. About 40 percent of all medical plastic products in European hospitals are made of PVC. They improve the chances of recovery, extend life expectancy and enable the best standards of hygiene. PVC has achieved its widespread use in the healthcare sector not only because of its individually adaptable material properties, but also because of its attractive designs and low purchase and maintenance costs in times of tight budgets.

Core applications include flexible bag systems, for example. These include blood bags that can be easily sterilized and frozen. These soft foil bags extend the shelf life of blood up to 42 days and protect the red blood cells from hemolysis. Vinyl is also often the first choice for tubing systems for artificial ventilation, infusions, transfusions or flushing and suction processes via catheters, thanks to its good usage properties. The material proves to be very resistant to kinking and can withstand high mechanical stress without damage. Oxygen and anesthetic masks ensure survival in extreme situations. Thanks to the use of tiny tubes and moulded parts that offer impressive functionality in a minimum of space, minimal invasive surgery can now be performed. This protects the patient, reduces the risk and enables a much faster recovery than after major surgeries.

PVC products also have a firm place in building and construction applications in the healthcare sector. In addition to energy-saving PVC windows and solid, durable pipes, insulated cables and roofing membranes are used in many places. Stretched ceilings enable quick ceiling renovation without long downtimes and have a positive effect on room acoustics. Washable wallpaper and PVC profiles protect hospital corridors and patient rooms from dirt and damage caused by beds and handcarts. PVC sheets are installed as wall coverings because of their good hygienic properties and easy cleaning, but they are also convincing because they are impact-resistant, liquid-tight and quick to install.

Intensive care units, operating theatres and patient rooms are increasingly being fitted with vinyl floor coverings, which are proving to be extremely hard-wearing, stain-resistant and durable under the extreme stresses of daily use. They are also often used as orientation aids or for color-coded area marking in clinics. A significant advantage in terms of good hospital hygiene is the easy cleaning of the smooth surfaces. In addition to the facilitated control of spread germs and bacteria, this helps to increase patient safety and also reduces the maintenance costs, which can account for up to 92 percent of the total life cycle costs of the coverings: the right answer to the continuously increasing cost pressure in the health care sector without neglecting comprehensive hygiene. Thanks to their good sound absorption and anti-slip properties, the floorings also improve the working conditions of doctors and nursing staff who spend many hours a day in operating theatres or have to walk longer distances in hospitals. At the same time, they offer many modern designs that turn doctors’ surgeries as well as patient rooms and canteens into feel-good rooms.

In order to support the circular economy and conserve valuable resources, various recycling systems for PVC applications in the healthcare sector are already available in Europe for years. In this way, the industry is making an important contribution to sustainable development.

VinylPlus® commits to recycle 900,000 tonnes of PVC a year by 2025

Since 2000, VinylPlus, the voluntary commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, has been a pioneer in the Circular Economy. It has backed the European Commission’s pledging call to increase recycling of plastics by committing to recycle at least 900,000 tonnes of PVC per year into new products by 2025, a significant contribution to the overall 10 million tonnes objective set by the Commission for the plastic industry. Looking further ahead, VinylPlus has also committed to recycling a minimum of 1 million tonnes per year by 2030.

“For nearly 20 years, VinylPlus has led the way to a circular economy by improving the sustainability performance of PVC. Because our programme brings together the entire value chain – PVC manufacturers, additives producers, converters and recyclers – we responded immediately to the Commission’s call for voluntary pledges from the plastics industry. We welcome this initiative, which highlights the foresight shown by VinylPlus in establishing its first voluntary commitment.”, says Brigitte Dero, VinylPlus’ General Manager.

Thanks to VinylPlus’ unique role in engaging an entire value chain, the voluntary commitment has succeeded in recycling more than 4 million tonnes of PVC since 2000.

PVC is made from salt and oil or natural gas and is one of the most widely used plastics in the world with a wide range of applications such as window frames, pipes, flooring, cables, packaging, sport equipment, furniture and medical devices.

Ensuring targets are met is of paramount importance to VinylPlus’ success. Recycled volumes are verified by an independent auditor and presented to the VinylPlus Monitoring Committee, composed of representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, consumer organisations, trade unions, academia and industry.

Supporters of VinylPlus come from a wide-range of backgrounds. See for instance what Martina Dlabajová, Member of the European Parliament, says about our voluntary commitment.

AGPU: 30 years for PVC

On the foundation of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft PVC und Umwelt e.V. (AGPU) 30 years ago, there was no way around it. This has not changed to this day, even if the times in which PVC materials and products were particularly criticised are a thing of the past. Thanks to the long-standing commitment of AGPU member companies from the entire PVC value chain for the sustainable development of PVC and an open dialogue with stakeholders from all areas, AGPU and its partners have succeeded in establishing PVC as an innovative, sustainable and future-oriented material. The fact that modern PVC products today are real high-tech wonders is benefiting more and more people in their lives thanks to their diversity and performance.

At the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the AGPU, the two guest speakers were also convinced of the sustainability of PVC as a material. For NRW’s Economics Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, innovative products and manufacturing processes are one of the keys to the future. “We in North Rhine-Westphalia stand for a modern and environmentally friendly industry and create the right conditions for sustainable investments,” stressed the Minister in his speech. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Bastian, Director of the SKZ Institute, was also enthusiastic: “The opportunities for PVC continue to be great due to these diverse properties, the material is sustainable and can be individually adapted to the various requirements”.

“The focus of the AGPU has been sharpened again and again over the last 30 years and is now clearly on the sustainability of the material”, says Dr. Oliver Mieden, newly elected CEO of the AGPU and Head of Environmental Affairs & Corporate Communications at PVC manufacturer Vinnolit: “Since 2017, the AGPU has been an associated member of VinylPlus®, the sustainability programme of the European PVC industry, and thus contributes to making the contents and objectives of the voluntary voluntary commitment even better known in Germany.

PVC workshop with Record Attendance

What a promising start! On January 16, AGPU and PlasticsEurope Deutschland held a record-breaking PVC workshop in Bonn. 90 participants used the event to inform and exchange information with colleagues from the industry. There was particularly great interest in topics such as the classification of the fire behaviour of construction products, the potential classification of titanium dioxide or the use of PVC in automotive interiors.

All presentations can be found in the PVC-WIKI, which is an exclusive platform for AGPU member companies.

Polysecure Is First New AGPU Member

ust in time for the beginning of the year, AGPU welcomes a first new member, Polysecure GmbH from Freiburg. The company offers solutions for plagiarism protection, product authentication, material detection and marking.

At the end of last year, Polysecure Managing Director Jochen Mößlein received the StartGreen Award 2017. Together with REHAU, his company has developed a process for the separation of glass-fibre-containing PVC regrind. The company is also working with the Green Dot on a joint project to significantly increase the mechanical recycling rate of plastic packaging in the future.

Campaign “Best Practice” finishes in Spring

After about one and a half years, the “Best Practice for the Environment” campaign will be on the final straight in spring 2018. As part of the campaign, exemplary projects were identified and documented in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia in which old PVC construction products such as windows or floor coverings are recycled and reused.

Until March of next year, building owners from the housing industry or commercial buildings, as well as demolition companies, window manufacturers and waste disposal companies from the above-mentioned federal states can submit appropriate proposals to AGPU, Rewindo and AgPR.

Chlorhersteller in der EU stellen quecksilber-basiertes Amalgamverfahren ein

Mit Inkrafttreten der neuen EU-Regularien am 11. Dezember haben die europäischen Chlorhersteller das quechsilber-basierte Amalgamverfahren weitestgehend eingestellt. Von den 21 Anlagen, die Anfang 2017 noch in Betrieb waren, wurden mittlerweile sieben geschlossen. 13 Anlagen sind auf die Membrantechnologie umgerüstet worden. Leidiglich ein Standort steht noch kurz vor der Umstellung. Über den aktuellen Stand  berichtet die “Chemical & Engineering News” mit einem ausführlichen Artikel.

PVC Formulation 2018: Das Programm zum Download

Vom 10. bis zum 12. April 2018 findet im Maritim Hotel in Köln die PVC Formulation 2018 statt. Es ist mittlerweile die zehnte Fachkonferenz für die PVC-Branche, die von AMI organisiert wird. Pünktlich vor dem Jahreswechsel wurde nun das Programm vorgestellt. Die AGPU ist wieder Medienpartner der PVC Formulation. Geschäftsführer Thomas Hülsmann wird zudem über die Fortschritte und Erfolge der PVC-Industrie in den vergangenen zehn Jahren referieren.