ECPI introduces journalists to a sustainable model for the flexible PVC value chain

Paris, 12 -13 October 2015 - The third edition of the annual Media Field Trip, organised by the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) took place in early October in the vicinity of Paris. The media trip, supported by VinylPlus, gave seven journalists from European specialised press the opportunity to get first-hand insights into the flexible PVC value chain through visits to two converting and one recycling factories.

Stéphane Content, General Manager of ECPI, inaugurated the event by illustrating plasticisers’ many uses and applications: “Plasticisers are very versatile substances which, depending on their specific properties and characteristics, can be used in a multitude of applications such as resilient wire and cable, durable flooring, medical devices as well as adhesives, sealants and much more”.

Michel Py, CEO at CIFRA, the first factory visited during the event, guided attendees through a business and production model combining high quality products and sustainability. CIFRA is in fact a factory producing up to 65% of products from post-industrial and post-consumer flexible PVC scrap. The latter is sorted depending on its properties, reprocessed through an innovative recycling process and transformed into high quality recycled PVC films which can be reused, for example, in the automotive sector or for water treatment and green roofing.

Day two of the trip was opened by Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director at EuPC (European Plastics Converters), who introduced the history and activities of the VinylPlus programme. This voluntary initiative launched in 2000 has greatly improved the sustainability credentials of the entire PVC value chain by “closing the loop” via its recycling programme.

Dangis explained that “in 2013 only, VinylPlus recycled 444, 468 tonnes of PVC; we are getting closer and closer to achieving our most ambitious goal ever, reaching an annual recycling target of 800,000 tonnes for 2020”. According to Mr Dangis, the ambitious targets and the objectives achieved so far are even more impressive in the light of the current lack of a clear European legislative framework.

The media trip continued with the visit of Griffine, hosted by its General Manager Emmanuel Le Grand. With its 240 employees, worldwide sales and technical force, Griffine is a major international producer of high performance flexible PVC coated film for automotive, fashion, furniture and other applications. Griffine also sets the standards for sustainability thanks to a PVC scrap collecting system and long-standing collaboration with Chaize Environnement, the third and last factory visited during the trip.

Founded and directed by Bernard Chaize, Chaize Environnement has developed its own innovative technique to transform post-industrial PVC scrap containing textile fibres into new compounds which can be used as virgin material for the production of new PVC items such as car heel-pads, PVC slabs or “Claketts”, PVC sandals with a very long life span.

The Media Field Trip was a great opportunity for the journalists to witness some good examples of innovation and controlled loop in the flexible PVC value chain and to learn about the benefits that flexible PVC products bring to everyday life with a variety of safe and high performance applications having multiple lives.