The total domestic demand for PVC in 2020 was 141,800 tonnes, of which 76,000 tonnes went into the manufacturing of rigids (compounds, dry blends, etc.) and 65,800 tonnes for flexibles. Although the virgin market decreased by 8.2% during this year, a total amount of 21,433 tons of PVC were recycled, of which 13,440 tonnes were flexible (PVC-P) and 7,992 tonnes were rigid (PVC-U).
“The past two years has seen the global PVC supply badly impacted by the pandemic, lockdown measures, hurricanes and other natural disasters in the northern hemisphere, as well as other domestic and international events. This has resulted in low production of chlorine, raw material shortages and PVC prices reaching a 35-year high. On the flip side, it has also helped to drive the demand for recyclate, improve our own cradle-to-cradle infrastructure and develop our circular economy,” Holtzhausen says.
South Africa currently has more than 40 recyclers which granulate and pelletise vinyl products for re-use in flooring and tiles, shoe soles or other PVC products. The biggest market (40%) for PVC recyclate continues to be the footwear industry where it is used to manufacture shoes, soles and gumboots, followed by the building and construction industry (38%) and agriculture (12%).
"Although many end-markets have already been developed both for flexible and rigids, it is clear that more can be done. Our local recyclers are encouraged to continue developing and improving their recycling technologies in order to produce a consistent supply of good quality material that meets international standards. We also need to improve our collection methods and infrastructure. For this to happen, we need the buy-in of brand owners and retailers to ensure that we get back the vinyl packaging that they sell in order to effectively close the loop and thereby reduce our dependence on imports and virgin raw materials,” Holtzhausen concludes.
For more information visit www.savinyls.co.za.