PVC Toronto talk

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Published on November 16, 2007

Author: Mahugani

Source: authorstream.com

PVC plastic –An ‘environmental poison’ and why some governments and industry are phasing it out:  PVC plastic –An ‘environmental poison’ and why some governments and industry are phasing it out Beverley Thorpe Clean Production Action BevCpro@aol.com www.cleanproduction.org (launched by end of March) March 7, 2003 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Plastic has problems all along the:  PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Plastic has problems all along the LIFECYCLE Second most common plastic in use today Products need to be considered in their life cycle – current production is too linear and generates hazardous wastes:  Products need to be considered in their life cycle – current production is too linear and generates hazardous wastes WHAT IS CLEAN PRODUCTION?:  WHAT IS CLEAN PRODUCTION? Clean Production cycle is different to current linear production systems:  Clean Production cycle is different to current linear production systems What Is Clean Production?:  What Is Clean Production? It promotes renewable energy, non toxic materials in a closed loop and sustainable product design It is rooted within circular concepts of the product life cycle It is based on the Precautionary Principle UNEP Cleaner Production Definition (1990):  UNEP Cleaner Production Definition (1990) For PRODUCTION PROCESSES Cleaner Production includes: conserving raw materials and energy; eliminating toxic raw materials reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes before they leave a process UNEP CP Definition:  UNEP CP Definition For PRODUCTS …. the strategy focuses on reducing impacts along the entire life cycle of the product….from raw material extraction to the ultimate disposal of the product Visit www.unepie.org/ for information on their case studies and reports. PVC is inherently toxic throughout its lifecycle:  PVC is inherently toxic throughout its lifecycle Myriad problems go back to the same two causes that are specific for PVC: It is made of chlorine It requires large amounts of additives to be functional PVC – the chlorine trap:  PVC – the chlorine trap Pure PVC consists of 57% chlorine All precursors (ethylene-dichloride, vinyl-chloride monomer) are highly toxic Combustion leads to HCl and dioxins Incineration also leads to equal or more waste generation: 1 kg PVC = more than 1 kg hazardous residues PVC biggest source of chlorine in municipal waste stream – arguably most important source of dioxins to environment today PVC hazardous in its manufacture:  PVC hazardous in its manufacture Large dioxin releases in EDC tars (formerly dumped at sea, then incinerated at sea…now incinerated on land or dumped down mine shafts) Lawsuit (1998) against 28 former exec of Italian VCM producers charged with responsibility of deaths by cancer of 157 workers – settled with financial compensation to victims PVC is an ‘environmental poison’:  PVC is an ‘environmental poison’ Vinyl industry took Greenpeace (in Austria) to court for declaring that PVC was an environmental poison Supreme Court of Austria in 1992 ruled in Greenpeace’s favour after considering reams of evidence which demonstrated the toxic lifecycle of this plastic Chlorine in = dioxin out:  Bags of incineration ash from pvc combusion Chlorine in = dioxin out Danish gov’t now trying to limit PVC in incineration waste streams “review of data clearly shows correlation with chlorine input and synthesis of dioxins and furans” USEPA 1 kg PVC produces 1kg or more of hazardous waste residues (see photo of bags of incineration ash) European Commission 2001:  1 kg PVC produces 1kg or more of hazardous waste residues (see photo of bags of incineration ash) European Commission 2001 PVC in incinerators creates acidic emissions along with dioxins; neutralizing these emissions generates as much waste as original waste stream…which then needs to be landfilled creating future toxic leaks and emissions. Incineration is NOT the solution Slide15:  Chlorine HCL Dioxin (production, accidental fires, landfill fires, incineration, metal recycling) Stabilisers: e.g. Pb, Cd (0,1-2,5 %) Plasticiserse.g. DEHP (10-60%) Cl-polymer (Cl-content 14-53%) Additives (content 7-75 %) EDC VCM PVC Production Use - Disposal PVC – the additive trap:  PVC – the additive trap Pure PVC is useless; hundreds of additives, softeners, plasticisers (phthalates) >>> estrogenic hormone disrupters Stabilizers eg lead, cadmium, organotin compounds >>>>toxic releases Creates incompatibilities during recycling; perpetuates toxic downcycle Basel Action Network (www.ban.org):  Basel Action Network (www.ban.org) Current focus e-waste exports from USA PVC in cables and computers being burned in open fires>>>dioxins The PVC waste crisis:  The PVC waste crisis How to phase out PVC in products and use No time to waste! PVC – common in households:  PVC – common in households PVC - common in products:  PVC - common in products PVC IS INCREASING GLOBALLY-former long life pvc products to enter current waste stream:  PVC IS INCREASING GLOBALLY-former long life pvc products to enter current waste stream PVC legacy about to hit:  PVC legacy about to hit 300 million tons PVC produced globally since 1960s Half already disposed to landfills and incinerators Half still in current use (construction materials = average life 34 years) 1960s construction waste about to hit! So what do we do with it? What does this waste legacy mean? A BIG TOXIC PROBLEM:  What does this waste legacy mean? A BIG TOXIC PROBLEM If all pvc production were to cease today we would still face 150 mT waste mountain globally Along which comes tens of millions of tons of additives (estimate does not include short life products eg packaging, household products) What the PVC industry says…:  What the PVC industry says… PVC is not and can not be safely recycled:  PVC is not and can not be safely recycled 0.1% total pvc use currently recycled Incompatible with potential recycling of other plastics – contaminates others High collection and separation costs Downcycling shifts disposal problems to other products/countries Increases toxic emissions in steel smelting if used as ‘fuel’ PVC waste crisis will demand more incineration- BIG DIOXIN THREAT:  PVC waste crisis will demand more incineration- BIG DIOXIN THREAT “…the future will see a major increase in the recycling of PVC through energy recovery by incineration. This is because mechanical recycling levels appear to have peaked with no obvious hope of an increase to come. -Occidental Chemical spokesman, 1997 EU Studies on PVC (2000) - Conclusions:  EU Studies on PVC (2000) - Conclusions Amount of pvc waste to double in next 20 years Mechanical recycling will not contribute significantly to management of PVC post-consumer wastes; reaching at best 18% of the total in 2020 Incineration of 1 kg PVC leads in most cases to formation of 1 kg hazardous wastes Landfilling releases hazardous phthalate softeners and will contribute to formation of dioxins in accidental landfill fires EU study did not address dioxin threat of PVC plastic – too bad!:  EU study did not address dioxin threat of PVC plastic – too bad! PVC responsible for 38% to 66% of chlorine content in municipal solid waste- arguably most significant source of dioxin generation today PVC industry quotes Vinyl Industry funded report for American Society of Mechanical Engineers which concludes no relation between chlorine and dioxin emissions; study since found to be inaccurate (original data proves otherwise) yet report used widely PVC Industry response to EU Green paper “The PVC industry employs 530,000 people in Europe”:  PVC Industry response to EU Green paper “The PVC industry employs 530,000 people in Europe” ECVM (December 1997): “The PVC industry in Europe employs about 200,000 people (direct and indirect)” 165% growth in 2 years? - one of the figures must be incorrect! Green Paper: 96% of the jobs are in the PVC transformation sector so a change to another material would not endanger these jobs Also same companies make other polymers so jobs could be transitioned PVC-free political initiatives in EU:  PVC-free political initiatives in EU Restrictive policies at national level in place or recommended (DK, S, NL, D) PVC-free policies at regional or local level (DK, S, NL, D, UK, A, Spain, Lux) EU emergency ban of six phthalates in soft PVC teething toys Government policies shifting to lifecycle thinking:  Government policies shifting to lifecycle thinking Sweden Eco cycle Commission “PVC has no place in an ecocycle society” Germany’s and Japan’s Closed Material Loop Economy European Union INTEGRATED PRODUCT POLICY based on lifecycle thinking Government initiatives:  Government initiatives Sweden (1999) phase out of several PVC additives and ban on phthalates in toys for children under 3; other phaseouts Achieving 39% reduction in PVC beween 1994 and 1999 Denmark (1999) limit incineration of PVC; ban on lead stabilizers, substitution of PVC products difficult to segregate; PVC tax($2/kg on all pvc foils); 50% reduction of phthalates by 2010 Government initiatives…:  Government initiatives… Germany: gradual phase out of soft PVC, no landfilling of PVC, no spreading of hazardous substances via recycling,phase out of Cd and Pb, use of chlorine-free materials in certain inflammable areas -German EPA recommendations (1999) 274 communitites and 6 Federal States have PVC restrictions Local authorities restricting PVC:  Local authorities restricting PVC Spain: 62 Spanish cities have been declared PVC free and award tax relief to builders who avoid PVC Anti PVC procurement guidelines in Austria, Netherlands, Nordic countries, UK, Japan and even USA Japan cities using non pvc pipes; increasing public concern and action against dioxin Unions:  Unions German Wood and Plastic Processors Labour Union : “problems associated with this material must be addressed…our organisation in Germany is committed to a medium term transition to chlorine free materials such as polyolefins and PET.” -Gisbert Schlemmer, GHK, 1994 Firefighters:  Firefighters International Association of Firefighters: “Due to intrinsic hazards, we support efforts to identify and use alternative building materials that do not pose as much a risk as PVC to firefighters, building occupants or communities” Richard Duffy, OHS, 1998 Nurses/Doctors:  Nurses/Doctors “We support initiatives to reduce the harmful impact of medical waste, including…use of the marketplace to develop alternative low-toxicity products, eg replacing pvc plastics, latex and mercury International Council of Nurses, 1998 See Health Care Without Harm (www.hcwh.org) PVC-free business initiatives:  PVC-free business initiatives Wavin: No. 1 PVC pipe producer in Europe “Why polypropylene is the better material” “a standard plastic has been questioned increasingly in recent years due to its chlorine content: PVC” “Rightly, polypropylene is called the ‘material of the future’. Because in addition to its excellent characteristics, it has all the advantages for ecologically clean reprocessing” Car manufacturers:  Car manufacturers Ford, Peugeot, Daimler Benz, Opel, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota all adopting PVC restrictions In USA GM and Ford requiring non pvc for some supply lines Battery manufacturers:  Battery manufacturers Secondary lead smelters in the USA identified PVC separators used in lead acid batteries as a chlorine donor for dioxins being formed in the smelters>>>>battery manufacturers drastically reduced their use of PVC Construction Industry:  Construction Industry Greenpeace database on alternatives to PVC in buildings PVC Construction Products and Alternatives Explained Roofing and Building Membranes Insulation Exteriors; Siding, Cladding, Profiles & Coatings Windows and Doors Interiors; flooring Interiors: walls & decoration Electrical Equipment Pipelines and Accessories Visit: www.greenpeace.org/~toxics PVC-free alternatives exist! Many used in Sidney Olympics 2000:  PVC-free alternatives exist! Many used in Sidney Olympics 2000 Shoe manufacturers/Retailers:  Shoe manufacturers/Retailers Nike PVC phase out policy Leading European retailers Eg Marks & Spencers phasing out PVC Electronics Industry:  Electronics Industry Sony committed to PVC phase out by 2002 Eg no PVC in all products made in Japan; 50% phase out in PVC used in wiring Elimination of halogen flame retardants and the use of lead-free solder Toshiba: circuit boards halogen free by 2000 (halogens are toxic, persistent and/or bioaccumulative in living systems – have chlorine, bromine, fluorine or iodine chemicals—hence polyviny chloride plastic is a halogenated plastic) Eco-design achieving clean materials eg McDonough/Braungart:  Eco-design achieving clean materials eg McDonough/Braungart DesignTex furniture fabric made from ramie and can be composted at end of life with no toxic byproducts Asked 60 different chemical companies for a product free of mutagens, carcinogens, PBTs, heavy metals and endocrine disrupters. Ciba Geigy assessed 8,000 and eliminated 7,962 of them to provide 38 chemicals. Clean effluent from process; closed loop production (visit www.mbdc.org) Other initiatives: :  Other initiatives: Natural Capitalism (www.natcap.org) Redesigning production on biological lines (www.bioimcry.net) with closed loops, no waste, and no toxicity Shifting businesses from selling goods to leasing a continuous flow of services Green chemistry Move to renewables Biobased materials:  Biobased materials Material production now esclating with Cargill/Dow facility capacity of 300 million pounds per year PLA (polylactic acid) for NatureWorks fabrics and plastic Sony Japan – PLA walkman Biobased:  Biobased Raises issue of land use and life cycle benefits of agro material versus petrochemical material. Raises issue of genetically engineered crops – what is source of PLA? Increasing convergence of chemicals and agriculture International Networks fighting incineration and advocating clean production alternatives:  International Networks fighting incineration and advocating clean production alternatives GAIA (www.no-burn.org) Global Anti Incineration Alliance (or Global Alternatives to Incineration Alliance) Zero waste for garbage; links with HCWH Health Care Without Harm (www.hcwh.org) non PVC products and alternatives to hospital incinerators Healthy Building Network (www.hbn.org) advocates non PVC building materials We need to rapidly phase out PVC via::  We need to rapidly phase out PVC via: Green procurement and ecotaxes Producer responsibility for product life cycle as general policy Producer responsibility for PVC waste segregation prior to waste management Government responsibility to urgently implement MATERIAL POLICY as basis of environmental and industrial development PVC and POPS:  PVC and POPS PVC is arguable the most significant source of chlorine as global dioxin precursor Global expansion of PVC industry a global threat How will Canada design its National Implementation Plan for Stockholm Convention on POPs?? Will it promote more expensive incinerators or begin to phase out PVC? Where’s our politicians on this issue?! For more information::  For more information: ‘PVC-Free Future: A Review of Restrictions and PVC free Policies Worldwide’ visit www.greenpeace.org/~toxics General PVC info visit: http://archive.greenpeace.org/~toxics/html/content/pvc_hearbackground.html PVC and incineration visit: http://archive.greenpeace.org/~toxics/reports/reportsdate.html Health Care Without Harm: www.hcwh.org GAIA incineration network: www.no-burn.org Healthy Building Network: www.hbn.org Work to eliminate PVC in::  Work to eliminate PVC in: building materials, government purchasing, hospitals Demand labeling of all plastics to ensure avoidance of PVC plastic …and don’t buy it

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