Polyflor spearheads industry’s first official vinyl floors recycling drive

Johannesburg – Polyflor South Africa is proud to announce that it has launched the first official recycling programme specifically aimed at the local vinyl flooring industry.

According to Polyflor SA Chief Executive Officer, Tandy Coleman, the need for an official recycling initiative has been a long time coming and is in line with one of the key objectives of the South African VinylsAssociation’s (SAVA) Product Stewardship Programme – of which Polyflor SA is a member.

“The vinyl flooring market has seen a tremendous growth in recent years and there has not yet been an official programme set in place for the recycling of off-cuts from installations,” Coleman said.

Polyflor UK was one of the founding members of Recofloor – the vinyl take-back scheme that started in Europe in 2009 and collects post-consumer vinyl flooring for recycling into new flooring.

This initiative recycled a record amount of 508 tonnes of post-consumer waste vinyl flooring last year alone – enough to cover 23 football fields – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

According to Coleman, used vinyl floors are currently not being recycled owing to the fact that glue and screed are also attached to the floors after they have been removed. “There is currently no technology available in South Africathat can separate glue residue from the vinyl for recycling, but in the meanwhile we believe it is important to make a difference where we can. Every piece of off-cut that we can recycle will help to alleviate the strain on the country’s landfills and natural resources,” Coleman said.

Polyflor contractors will be given specially branded bags for them to place their off-cuts in and returned to the company’s head office, where it will be weighed and recorded before it is collected by recyclers.

“We have arranged with the major recyclers of vinyl around the countryto collect the material from our premises for recycling into a wide variety of products, including traffic management products and gum boots,” she said.

Commenting on this recycling initiative, SAVA’s Chief Executive Officer Delanie Bezuidenhout said they welcomed any pro-active steps taken by industry members to take responsibility for their own waste.  “We have made a firm commitment to increase responsibility and sustainability within the PVC industry as a whole.  However, one of the key challenges outlined within this product stewardship programme has been the commitment to increase recycling. We are proud of Polyflor for taking the lead in such an important industry action,” Bezuidenhout concluded.