The UK PVC industry has undergone a transformation after a period when the material was effectively labelled a public menace, Roger Mottram, chairman of the British Plastics Federation's (BPF) vinyls group, said last week.
Mottram was speaking at the launch of the BPF's PVC in Sport document and accompanying video (see below). The vinyls group head, who is also head of environmental and regulatory affairs at Ineos Chlor Vinyls, Europe's largest producer of PVC, welcomed the media's more positive attitude towards the material, citing a recent BBC TV programme which highlighted the use of PVC at this year's London Olympics.
Mottram said these were "exciting times for sporting events and PVC will play its part", as organisers recognised its durability, cost-effectiveness and recyclability.
At the Sydney Olympics the use of PVC in venues was positively discouraged, but London has taken a different view, thanks in part to lobbying by the BPF, said Mottram.
More than 142,000 square meteres of PVC will be used in a host of venues across the Olympic Park and beyond, including the water polo arena, the aquatics centre and the basketball arena.
Once the Olympics have finished the basketball arena was expected to be dismantled and shipped to Brazil, where it will be used in the 2016 Games.
In addition to roofing and membrane wraps at various London Olympic venues, PVC will also be found in cabling and pipes across the various sites, Mottram said.
Meanwhile the UK was continuing to play a leading role in the recycling of PVC; Mottram said the industry "will be looking to build on the success of Vinyl 2010 with the Vinyl Plus inititative, launched in June last year.
"The UK was responsible for a fifth, 49,000 tonnes, of the PVC recycled across the European Union in 2010 and we can still play our part going forward," he added.
The Europe-wide PVC recycling target for 2020 is 800,000, nearly double 2010's figure.