The Vinyl Institute, a U.S. trade association representing the leading manufacturers of vinyl, announced its first round of funding to six organizations totaling more than $460,000 through its VIABILITY™ recycling grant program.
"The U.S. PVC resin manufacturers are committed to increasing the volume of post-consumer recycled PVC," said Ned Monroe, president and CEO of the Vinyl Institute. "The initial six VIABILITY grantees span a variety of applications and approaches to post-consumer PVC recycling. We are growing PVC recycling capability and capacity to help our industry reach its goal of 160 million pounds of post-consumer recycled PVC annually by 2025."
Grants through VIABILITY for PVC recycling projects support the purchase of equipment, advanced recycling research and development, educational programs, and program management for long-lasting and sustainable recycling of PVC products. The VIABILITY grant program aims to accelerate post-consumer vinyl recycling to 160 million pounds by 2025.
The six individual VIABILITY grant recipients' initiatives reach across the spectrum of the vinyl industry and represent innovation and progress:
- Chemical Fabrics and Film Association (CFFA) (Cleveland): Members of CFFA's Vinyl Roofing Division have led the way in recycling for single-ply roofing product category. In 2022, the combined volume of recycling vinyl materials included 19.2 million pounds of pre-consumer PVC roof membrane and 1 million pounds of post-consumer PVC roof membrane. With this foundation of experience, the CFFA proposes to formalize and expand roof recycling to an industry-wide program. CFFA will use the VIABILITY grant to build the program, improve logistics, expand its recycling network, educate value chain members, and develop end markets for recycled PVC material.
- Every Shelter (Houston, Texas): Every Shelter is a nonprofit organization that repurposes vinyl billboards to provide shelter for refugees in displacement camps in the Middle East and East Africa. Every Shelter will also repurpose vinyl billboards in the U.S. to stabilize the homes of disaster victims. The tarps FEMA currently provides last approximately 30 days. The upcycled vinyl billboard tarps have an average service life of 24 months. In the U.S., there is a need for more than 372,000 disaster relief tarps per disaster event. At the same time, there is a large supply of used vinyl billboards every year in the U.S. that could be upcycled to help stabilize the homes of disaster victims instead of being landfilled. Every Shelter will use its VIABILITY grant to develop a proof of concept for a business model including the manufacture, storage, and distribution costs for an initial quantity of billboard material.
- Kelly Green Board, LLC (Waterbury, Conn.): Kelly Green Board, a manufacturer of building products made from 100% recycled beverage cartons, cups, and other components, is developing a circular use of PVC roofing membrane. Kelly is developing a roof board product that contains 50% post-consumer roofing membrane and 50% post-consumer carton packaging material that can be reused in a new roofing system. The resulting recycled PVC roof board has greater water resistance when compared to other roof cover board products. Kelly Green Board will use the VIABILITY grant to further product development and manufacturing and conduct independent third-party laboratory testing.
- Norwich Plastics and Rochester Regional Health System (Cambridge, Ontario/Rochester, N.Y.): PVC medical recycling programs have been successfully implemented in Canada, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Norwich Plastics and Rochester Regional Health System are developing the MediVinyl+ Clean PVC Medical Reclaim and Recycling pilot program to prove the viability of a medical recycling program in the U.S. They will use the VIABILITY grant to develop the program logistics and training materials, conduct hospital personnel training, install material handling equipment at one of the Rochester Regional Health System locations, and recycle the collected materials.
- Oregon State University (Corvallis, Ore.): The School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering is researching the production of high-quality waxes from PVC by hydrothermal treatment and hydrogenation. The successful implementation of this program has the potential to address the entirety of single-use PVC waste and to open up the adhesive market for PVC upcycling. OSU will use the VIABILITY grant to fund continued research and development.
- Vinyl Siding Institute (Alexandria, Va.): The Vinyl Siding Coalition, led by the Vinyl Siding Institute, established a pilot program in Northeast Ohio that has recycled 125,000 pounds of post-consumer residential vinyl siding. The coalition intends to use the VIABILITY grant to build operating infrastructure to enable the program to grow. This includes developing a governance structure, establishing a brand, creating an operational tracking system and website, and initiating activities to expand into two new markets in 2024. The VSI's overall goal is to recycle 5 million pounds of post-consumer rigid vinyl annually by 2026.
Applications for the next round of funding consideration through VIABILITY are due July 17, 2023.
For more information on VIABILITY, visit vinylinfo.org/recycling.