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The future of PVC legislation in Europe

The European construction industry consumes about 10m million tons of plastic per year (20% of total European plastic consumption), making it the second largest application of plastics right after packaging. Although these plastics are not always visible in buildings, they are used in a variety of ways, including tubes, window frames, and interior design. [1]

PVC is the most used plastic due to its versatility, countless exceptional properties, and almost unlimited potential. These amazing benefits, however, are also why there is more PVC residue than residue of any other plastic [2][3].

For this reason, the European Commission published the report [4] The Use of PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) in the Context of a Non-Toxic Environment. The report examines the recyclability of PVC in relation to the European Union Green Pact and especially in relation to the planned transition to the circular economy. It was made to identify the necessary political measures for guaranteeing maximum recycling rates for PVC while also reducing the environmental impact of PVC production.

Potential actions for the coming years are driven by several European policy objectives, including the Plastics Strategy (European Commission, 2018); the Circular Economy Action Plan (European Commission, undated); the strategy on chemicals for sustainability towards a toxic-free environment (European Commission, 2020), as well as the protection of human health and the environment under Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on registration, the evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals (REACH).

The environmental impact of PVC

To stay aligned with all the possible arising scenarios at a European level, AIMPLAS, as a technological plastic center, with extensive experience in this topic, carries out research centering around minimizing the environmental impact and promoting PVC sustainability. We are focusing on things such as:

  • Validating PVC recyclability. We are investigating how many times PVC can be grinded down and extruded for new products, without the use of additional additives such as thermal stabilizers.
  • Conditioning recycled PVC and reformulating it to maintain its properties and using as much recycled material as possible in the final product.
  • Researching the substitution of additives restricted by REACH and other regulations, using alternative materials from renewable resources.
  • Creating new eco-designs for improving the recycling of PVC products.

All these developments can be developed in AIMPLAS pilot plot and laboratories facilities.


[1] Building & construction – Plastics Europe

[2] Informe final, Plastic Waste from Building & Construction in the EU, 2018.


[4] El uso de PVC (policloruro de vinilo) en el contexto de un ambiente no tóxico (enero – 2022).


Marta Pérez Argilés

Investigadora de Construcción y Energías Renovables