June 7, 2024

The article by Prof. Dr. habil. Uwe Lahl and Dr. Barbara Zeschmar-Lahl on the topic “More than 30 Years of PVC Recycling in Europe — Need for Regulation” has been published in the Special Issue of Sustainability: Resources and Waste Management (Sustainability 2024, 16, 4891).

As documented in our “Critical Inventory” (Sustainability 2024, 16, 3854), the PVC industry’s track record to date of increasing the sustainability of PVC plastic is not convincing, although the industry takes a different view. The question, therefore, arises as to whether legislators should intervene in Europe or at national levels.

As we show in our paper, none of the waste disposal processes currently in use (mechanical recycling, energy recovery) have sufficient capabilities to absorb the additional quantities of PVC that will enter the waste management system from the existing stock in the future. Therefore, the only solution for today’s PVC waste, and especially the stock problem that is heading towards the waste management sector, is to collect and dispose of PVC separately. Chemical recycling and mono-incineration have the potential to solve the stock problem in the future. However, this will require the construction of separate collection and industrial plants, which, in the case of chemical recycling, will technically need two stages in order to separate the chlorine as HCl in advance.

The creation of a plant infrastructure with which PVC could be processed would relieve the other parts of the waste management sector of chlorine massively. VinylPlus/EuPC stated: “The European PVC manufacturers, converters and recyclers would be more than happy to process the waste if efficient logistic systems would exist to bring the waste to them”, and they “would welcome to make this separate collection mandatory.”

Now it’s Brussels’ turn.

Below you will find a link to download this and the previous article as well as the special edition with further interesting articles.


Sustainability 2024, 16, 4891
Sustainability 2024, 16, 3854
Sustainability: Special Issue