Recent issues of Inside Waste have reported on the decline in commodity prices and the flow on effects to recycled materials, including plastics. One plastic stream, however, continues to hold its ground at around $700/t and that is PVC, sourced by the non-profit industry project the Vinyl Cycle.
The formation of the council was an initiative of the PVC sector members of the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA). Vinyl Cycle converts clear PVC bottles such as cordial bottles, various edible oil bottles, rice, sugar and similar clear handled bottles, into long life applications of vinyl flooring and pipe fittings.
The projects’ structure has allowed a fixed price to be held for more than two years, even while the broader commodity markets rises and falls dramatically around it.
More than 90% of councils in metropolitan and medium to large regional towns across Australia now specify the collection of PVC at the kerbside.
But project manager Linda Terry says while more than half of all PVC bottles produced are reaching MRFs, only a small percentage is then sorted and made available to the Vinyl Cycle, despite the strong price currently offered locally. The majority is sold offshore as part of the mixed plastics stream, or else is sent to landfill.
Vinyl Cycle has been recycling PVC bottles for over 11 years and says it has proven technology and a strong market demand, but is limited in its ability to supply material by the shortage of sorted material from MRFs.
“Our commitment to the vinyl industry is to have PVC recycled here in Australia, into long life Australian products and to support the Australian manufacturers by supplying a cost effective substitute for virgin resin,” says Terry.
“We would definitely encourage more MRF operators to commit to sorting PVC and to take advantage of our long term fixed pricing on offer,” she says, calling for any stockpiled material to be sorted and sent to Vinyl Cycle.