Plastics are a common material seen in thousands of different applications. What makes them such a great source is that manufacturers can recycle them and use the material to create something else. Rather than just throwing vinyl out after it has served its purpose, recycle it instead. On average, people in the UK use 5 million tonnes of plastic a year and they only recycle 24 per cent of it. Perhaps this percentage would be higher if people simply knew how to recycle their vinyl. There are multiple ways to go about this. Some users avoid recycling because they assume it is a big pain, but there are easy ways to recycle vinyl which do not require a lot of time or effort.
The UK does not require companies to label their plastics. However, it is recommended by the British Plastics Federation, or BPF, that they do so. There is a coding system with various numbers which identify the kind of plastic. For example, vinyl falls into the number 3 category with the polyvinyl chloride products.
Contractors and manufacturers use polyvinyl chloride for many things. Many people are familiar with PVC piping which is a very hard, durable plastic. Yet it is also lightweight, which makes it an ideal building material. Then there are the thick, flexible versions of vinyl that are great for flooring because it is low cost, looks great, and is easy to install. Vinyl window frames are common as well since they are cheaper than wood, weatherproof, and long-lasting.
Vinyl has many more uses, though. Synthetic leather, footwear, credit cards, and seat covers are all things that people use nearly everyday. When considering all of the things which come from polyvinyl chloride, it is easy to understand how great the need is to recycle it.
In order to recycle vinyl people have to take the material to a centre that accepts it. There are multiple companies scattered all across Europe that recycle plastic materials. However, just because the main company is far away does not mean that there is not a drop off location closer.
Recovinyl has made it their mission to recycle PVC plastics since 2003. They were also a part of the 2010 Voluntary Commitment to improve the production of PVC by making the process more environmentally friendly with more recycled products and less emissions. They successfully increased the amount of PVC recycling to 240,000 tonnes per year. The new goal of the company is to increase the recycled amount of PVC each year to 700,000 tonnes. They have recycle centres all over, both in the UK and in countries like Austria, France, Italy, Poland, and more.
The goal of Recofloor is specifically to collect used vinyl flooring and prevent it from being dumped at a landfill. They have a lot of drop-off points and partnered up with several flooring distributors to accept the used vinyl flooring.
What is nice about Recofloor is that people do not have to drive to the centre to drop off the vinyl flooring. They can simply telephone the company. Recofloor then delivers bags to their home which each carry up to 250kg. When the bags are full, people simply telephone the company again to pick up the bags. There is a charge per bag to take advantage of this service.
Established in 2000, the Wrap Organisation formed to help recycling become more prominent in the UK. They achieved this by educating individuals, companies, and the government about the values of recycled materials. They have worked closely with other organisations and governments to implement waste reduction strategies across the country. Wrap is a consulting company that helps businesses reduce their waste as well as find new uses for old products. This means that Wrap also helps businesses learn how to increase profitability by showing them ways to spend less on new items by making the old ones last longer. According to them, the country must eventually learn to operate as a circular economy rather than a linear one. In a circular economy, everything is recycled and remanufactured.