Prague, 26 November 2014 – The European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) recently held a flexible PVC and plasticisers workshop with representatives from Czech regulatory bodies and leading companies making flexible PVC products. They discussed the role and contribution of the plasticisers industry to the EU economy, recent policy and regulatory developments, and the most important regulatory challenges lying ahead, both at European and national level.
“The plasticisers industry and the European chemical industry in general, deliver essential materials used in an endless number of applications resulting in job creation and economic growth” explained Dr Stephane Content, ECPI’s General Manager. Employing 1.2 million people, the chemical sector is the largest in Europe and a major source of direct and indirect employment in many regions of the European Union.
This one-day workshop offered an overview of how plasticisers are made and how they are used on flexible PVC applications. ECPI’s experts also looked at health and environmental regulatory issues affecting the industry with special emphasis on the sustainability work being done by the VinylPlus programme which in 2013 registered a record 444,468 tonnes of recycled PVC. In addition to recycling, flexible PVC applications such as geomembranes or flooring also contribute to saving energy and resources due to their lightweight, durability and low maintenance properties. Participants from regulatory agencies were impressed by the significant progress made on PVC recycling by the voluntary VinylPlus Sustainability Initiative. Lack of recyclability can no longer be cited as a reason for the lack of sustainability of PVC.
“It is essential to raise awareness about the need for better regulation and simplification in order to avoid the negative impact that regulatory overlaps, indiscriminate product deselection and misleading information about chemicals can have on this sector which is so crucial for our economies and employment. The development of products like plasticisers – used in hundreds of applications which bring health, environmental and sustainability benefits improving significantly the quality of our lives – takes decades and huge capital investments in research, innovation, production, distribution, applications support, not to mention health and environmental testing” concluded Dr Content.