Ten Years Anniversary for PVC4PIPES
May 14, 2013
PVC4PIPES is celebrating its ten years anniversary. Based in Brussels, the European association promotes PVC pipe system benefits through activities that range from recycling to environmental assessments, standardisation, market analysis and promotion. In reviewing these activities, it also previews some interesting developments in the PVC pipeline that prompt an optimistic outlook for the industry.
Significant and continuous growth in market share compared to non-plastic pipe materials is predicted over the next five years. Rainer Grasmück, recently elected Chairman of the organization comments: “PVC systems continue to outlive non-plastic pipe materials. Market conversion is particularly noticeable in Eastern and Central Europe where advanced manufacturing technology has started to produce high-end products.”
European PVC pipe market shares versus all other materials are estimated at 40% for building (soil & waste), nearly 30% for Civils (sewage) and above 20% for Utilities (water supply). Future growth of at least twenty percent in volumes is forecast for the whole European region over the next five years.
Increased demand for recycled pipes
A major area of interest is in the field of collection and recycling of PVC pipe systems. “Perceptions are definitely changing,” says Grasmück. “What comes up is recycled and no longer goes down to landfill. When it comes to new pipelines, pipe replacement, renovation or rehabilitation, sustainability has become a significant factor in the purchasing decision. PVC pipes can have a service life of at least one hundred years. By making new pipes from old, we are therefore not only reshaping our pipes but also our future.”
European PVC pipes provided about ten percent of the total recycled volumes in 2010. Given the durability of these pipes, this waste stream is expected to increase only slightly over the next few years. Nevertheless, market demand particularly for sewer and drainage pipe systems made with a composite of this recycled material has grown by at least forty percent over the last ten years.
PVC4PIPES is currently launching a tool kit for training the sales forces of PVC pipe manufacturers across Europe. Key objective is to communicate environmental benefits to all stakeholders in a consistent way.
Larger diameters foreseen
Markets are encouraged by environmental assessments carried out by independent technical institutes in pursuit of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s). Studies conducted by VITO (www.vito.be) on behalf of the European plastic pipes industry have concluded that, on average, plastics are more sustainable than traditional materials in the whole life cycle of pipe systems. These findings have been independently ratified by Denkstatt (www.denkstatt.at). They have so far endorsed PVC pipe systems for low environmental impact (compared with non-plastic pipes) within major applications. These include soil & waste, pressure and non-pressure water pipes, sewer and drainage.
“Environmental Product Declarations have enabled us to confirm the low environmental footprint of our PVC pipe systems,” notes Grasmück. “An exciting development is the EPD for bi-oriented PVC pipes. With large diameters of up to 500 mm, they are replacing iron trunk mains for the delivery of drinking water. There is also a good future for large diameter (over 500 mm) structured-wall PVC pipes in non-pressure applications such as drainage and sewer.”
“Over the next five years, we can expect even larger diameters and a range of fittings to complete the process of plastics conversion within the market.”
Review of standards
Members of PVC4PIPES are actively involved with drafting and promoting major and supporting standards for the industry. This also includes testing of the various systems for pressure and impact resistance, leak tightness, ring flexibility and other standard test procedures. The organization is currently reviewing draft standards for oriented PVC pipes. PVC pipes for drinking water and structured wall pipes.
Members of PVC4PIPES are drawn from all sections of the industry, from raw materials supply to pipe systems manufacture, testing institutes and promotional organizations. Aim of the organization is ‘to become a driving force in uniting the industry to promote PVC systems in Europe as ambassador for the whole chain of the PVC industry.’
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