EU Window System Suppliers Applaud First Step in PVC Lead Restriction
European PVC window system suppliers welcome the lead (pb) in PVC REACH restriction adopted by the European Commission on May 3rd as a significant first step. The new legal text prohibits the placing of PVC articles containing lead on the market, which includes all PVC articles that cannot be recycled in a closed loop. However, it explicitly exempts PVC profiles that contain lead as a legacy additive in recyclate from old PVC window profile waste.
EPPA, the European PVC Profile Association, welcomes this regulatory measure that prevents the import of new lead in PVC to the European market. EPPA members stopped using lead as a stabilizer in 2004 and have since used calcium zinc (cazn) stabilizers in new PVC profiles. The EU legislator has also made it clear that it is committed to the Circular Economy by derogating the continued existence of lead (pb) as a legacy additive in PVC recyclate (rPVC-U) used in the production of new PVC profiles for construction applications.
“The PVC window profile industry has implemented a closed material loop over the past 25 years. Our production and recycling sites keep the PVC material in a traceable loop from PVC profile to PVC profile. Recycling PVC – and its legacy additive lead – in a closed loop has proven to be the most sustainable management of the material and substance. We welcome that the EU legislator acknowledges this fact and we will continue to invest into this closed loop for our application,” said Carsten Heuer, EPPA President.
EPPA aims to collect, recycle, and use the recyclate from 50% of the available post-consumer profile waste in Europe by 2030. The association considers the REACH restriction to be an important first step on which further measures need to build. Waste and product legislation must follow the example of REACH, where a thorough scientific assessment of the risks, socio-economic impacts, and environmental effects has led to the conclusion that traceable closed-loop recycling is the right way forward.
“We call on national and European legislators to pave the way for our industry to further increase the amounts of PVC recyclate used by harmonizing applicable EU rules to the just adopted lead (pb) in PVC restriction. Applications recycled in a safe, traceable, closed loop must not be subject to any additional barriers on the market,” says Carsten Heuer.
With over 600 million PVC windows in Europe’s current building stock, the industry expects a linear increase in available end-of-life PVC window volumes over the next few years. The implementation of the EU renovation wave is bound to further reinforce this trend.
Source: EPPA with additional information added by Apazone