PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) has been at the centre of a controversial debate during much of the last two decades. Several diverging scientific, technical, and economic opinions have been expressed on the question of PVC and effects of its additives on human health and the environment. Some Member States have recommended or adopted measures related to specific aspects of the PVC life cycle. However, these measures vary widely among those members.
At the beginning of REMADYL project life, Sustainable Innovations carried out an analysis where relevant standards and legislation across Europe were in place. The presence of two main chemical compounds which can be found in some PVC formulations were also addressed by the analysis: lead compounds and classified phthalates.
That led to the review of the following legislations:
- REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals);
- Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste;
- Directive 2008/68/EC – inland transport of dangerous goods;
- Directive 92/58/EEC – safety and/or health signs; Directive 2009/104/EC – use of work equipment;
- Directive 98/24/EC – risks related to chemical agents at work;
- Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on personal protective equipment;
- Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC; as well as the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).
Standards for the handling and treatment of PVC were also analysed:
- ISO 9852:2007 method for determining the resistance of un-plasticized poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC-U) pipes to dichloromethane at a specified temperature (DCMT);
- ISO 2898-1:1996: Plastics — Plasticized compounds of homopolymers and copolymers of vinyl chloride. It establishes a system of designation for plasticized poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC-P) which may be used as the basis for specifications;
- ISO 2898-2:2008 Plastics — Plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC-P) moulding and extrusion materials;
- ISO 2898-2:2898 specifies the methods of preparation of test specimens and the test methods to be used in determining the properties of PVC-P moulding and extrusion materials;
- EN 15877 (plastic piping systems for hot and cold-water installations, PVC-C);
- UNE-ISO 16422 (PVC-O pipes and joints for the conveyance of water under pressure);
- EN ISO 1452 (plastic piping systems for water supply and for buried drainage and sewerage under pressure, PVC-U);
- EN 1401 (plastics piping systems for non-pressure underground drainage, PVC-U);
- EN 1329 (plastic piping systems for wastewater discharge within the building structure PVC-U);
- EN 1453 (plastic piping systems with structured-wall pipes for water discharge inside buildings, PVC-U);
- EN 13476 (plastics piping systems for non-pressure underground drainage and buried sewerage. PVC-U, PP and PE structured-wall pipe systems);
- ASTM D7823 – 18 Standard Test Method for Determination of low-level Phthalates in Poly (Vinyl Chloride) Plastics by Thermal Desorption—Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry;
- ISO 3114:1977 Un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes for potable water supply — Extractability of lad and tin;
- ISO 8124-6:2018 Safety of toys — Part 6: Certain phthalate esters in toys and children’s products.
We demonstrated that the huge amount of legislation and standards across different countries in Europe makes the simplification necessary in order to develop a clear and standardised legislation approach. Sustainable Innovations, through REMADYL and together with other projects under the common initiative Plastic Circularity Multiplier is developing a joint policy brief. The idea behind this single document is to encourage European policymakers to carry out a single approach regarding plastic recycling and handling.
Industry, manufacturers and end-users will certainly benefit from such single approach as it would make it more clear how to process, treat and produce products and finally how to manage the recycling process at the end of life.