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Publications archive - Waste and recycling

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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

End-of-life Environmental Issues with PVC in Australia

Prepared by Dr. John Scheirs,
ExcelPlas Polymer Technology (EPT) for
Environment Australia, June 2003

3. Summary Recommendations and Suggested Responsibilities


Recommendation Suggested responsibilities
 
Commonwealth
State/Territory
Local Government
PVC Industry
Research / data Acquisition
(1) Explore opportunities for waste audits to be conducted to acquire baseline data for quantification of present waste management routes, including collection and waste volume data and recycling feasibility by major PVC application.  
Y
Y
Y
(2) Research and identify the environmental and health risks of the release of heavy metal stabilizers and plasticizers from ground-up, pulverized or thin film PVC waste (e.g. calandered sheet products) in landfills.  
Y
 
Y
(3) Quantify PVC levels in automotive shredder residue (flock) together with the corresponding extractable DEHP plasticizer levels, and research the leaching potential of automotive flock in landfills (e.g. studies under acidic landfill conditions).  
Y
Y
Y
(4) Conduct audits to understand the proportion of PVC in clinical waste.  
Y
Y
Y
(5) Analyze the proportion of total PVC waste available for mechanical recycling (modelled on the European Prognos study), taking into consideration the consumed amounts and the product lifetimes.      
Y
(6) Evaluate the potential for transfer of sophisticated sorting technologies available overseas to domestic recycling operations.  
Y
Y
Y
(7) Conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a solvent-based PVC recycling plant in Australia, in terms of the availability of PVC waste and the associated operational economics.  
Y
Y
Y
(8) Investigate the feasibility of mechanical recycling (or solvent-based recycling) for textile reinforced PVC wastes      
Y
Industry-driven Actions
(9) To reduce cadmium load in the environment, complete the phase out of the use of cadmium stabilizers in all PVC products including imports.
Y
   
Y
(10) Identify and implement mechanisms to minimise the dispersion of heavy metal-stabilisers in the environment from heavy metal-PVC recyclates eg through "controlled/closed loop recycling" (e.g. pipe to pipe/hose)  
Y
 
Y
(11) Conduct a trial to investigate potential to recover and recycle select medical-grade PVC products from hospitals (eg. IV saline bags, etoposide solution bags, drip lines and other non-contaminated, medical products).      
Y
(12) Further develop effective mechanisms or infrastructure for reclamation and reprocessing of PVC (pipe, conduit and cable) from construction and demolition waste.  
Y
Y
Y
(13) The current cross contamination issues with post-industrial PVC waste be addressed through industry education programs.  
Y
Y
Y
Considerations for Government
(14) Appropriate and regulated thermal processes be recognized by authorities and the community as legitimate processes for energy recovery from waste PVC when mechanical or other recycling mechanisms are not viable.
Y
Y
Y
 
(15) All new waste-to-energy processes for waste plastics and MSW be subject to PVC dosing trials (eg. feedstock with 5% PVC) to ensure their dioxin control and flue gas neutralization systems perform adequately.  
Y
Y
 
(16) On-going and comprehensive monitoring programs be established to ensure that waste-to-energy systems are functioning efficiently, as originally designed, and that pollution control redundancy is built-in as a duty/stand-by system.  
Y
Y
 
(17) The installation of wet and dry scrubbers as well as activated carbon injection equipment, or other effective means for effective dioxin removal, be mandatory for planned municipal solid waste incinerators in Australia.  
Y
   
(18) Comprehensive monitoring of medical waste incinerators be undertaken to evaluate dioxin emission levels and associated risks.  
Y
   
(19) Evaluate alternative technologies to the incineration of clinical waste  
Y
 
Y
(20) Open burning and low-temperature burning of PVC be discouraged (in favour of recycling) as a means of reducing environmental pollutants such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  
Y
   
(21) Municipalities to encourage that all types of rigid plastic containers be placed into the curbside recyclables bin and encourage access to the recycling infrastructure    
Y