Setting the Benchmarks: How Vinyl Manufacturers Can Drive Sustainability

May 22nd, 2023 by Editor

In the vinyl industry, sustainability is a part of every conversation. From consumers, to architects, to manufacturers, people seek safe, healthy and energy-efficient living and workspaces.

With 70% of PVC resin going into the built environment, the vinyl industry is advancing sustainability performance across three impact categories set by the Vinyl Sustainability Council (VSC): resource efficiency, emissions, and people and community. Vinyl manufacturers that organize their sustainability efforts using these categories as a guide can maximize their results—for their organizations, and for the industry at large.

Category #1: Resource Efficiency

When manufacturing vinyl products, an efficient use of resources reduces the quantity of inputs needed to produce a unit of output. Translation: Do more with less. Since 2016, vinyl recycling has increased by 7%. However, the majority is being attributed to pre-consumer recycling. VSC’s resource efficiency task force has set a goal for the industry to increase post-consumer recycling to 160 million pounds annually by 2025.

This year, the Vinyl Institute (the parent organization of VSC), took a bold step forward on this front with the launch of VIABILITY. A first-of-its-kind, industry-wide recycling grant program aimed at accelerating post-consumer PVC recycling across the country, VIABILITY is making available up to $1 million in funds each year over the next three years. Individual grants are available to qualifying industry collaborations such as trade associations, material recovery facilities, construction and demolition waste facilities, recyclers or colleges and universities. Funds may be used for the purchase of equipment, process investments, research and development, educational programs and program management that supports long-lasting and sustainable recycling of vinyl products.

Category #2: Emissions

Reducing emissions is a pressing issue in the realm of sustainability. Due to increased governmental scrutiny and ongoing diligence, emissions have been on the decline in recent years as vinyl companies improve their processes and operations. At the same time, the industry must remain diligent to drive ongoing improvement.

Building on past successes in reducing vinyl resin manufacturer emissions, VSC is mapping, benchmarking, and developing strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. VSC’s Emissions Task Force is setting realistic and achievable goals in this arena to help drive adoption across the industry.

Category #3: People and Community

VSC is focused on continuous improvement in health and safety across the industry’s manufacturing processes and products. What is driving this commitment? Community and user health and safety.

Getting there requires constant collaboration and communication.

Resin producers that have established community advisory panels (CAPs) sustain continuous dialogue between companies and communities on local development issues. CAPs hold companies accountable for how they affect their communities.

The introduction of a Sustainability Scorecard tool is enabling the vinyl industry to integrate sustainability thinking into the product formulation early in the design process to help ensure health and safety is at the forefront of product development.

Leading by Example: Aurora Plastics

Aurora Plastics has taken the initiative by becoming verified through +Vantage Vinyl®, the world’s first and only sustainability program that addresses an entire industry. U.S. vinyl supply chain companies who participate via VSC can earn the +Vantage Vinyl-verified mark. Aurora Plastics has integrated pollution prevention, biodiversity, and resource conservation into daily business decision making, which helped them to Earn the Mark.

Learn more about +Vantage Vinyl and how you can Earn the Mark for your company’s sustainability efforts.

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