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Environmental issues of PVC
The Commission assesses the impact of PVC waste on the environment and presents proposals for addressing the problems that may arise in this respect.
Green Paper of 26 July 2000 - Environmental issues of PVC [COM(2000) 469 - Not published in the Official Journal].
A report on the PVC situation in Europe. Opinions vary on the effects of PVC on human health and the environment, as do the measures taken by some Member States to deal with the problem. PVC is one of today's most widely used plastics. The European Commission therefore considers that an integrated approach is necessary. This would enable two objectives to be achieved: the proper functioning of the internal market and a high level of protection for human health and the environment.
The Green Paper follows on from the Commission's commitment, in its draft Directive on end-of-life vehicles, to assess the impact of PVC waste on the environment in an "integrated approach", i.e. throughout the life cycle of PVC. It is the outcome of a three-year study programme launched by the Commission on the technical, scientific and economic aspects of the PVC life cycle. The adoption of the Green Paper is an important milestone in the development of a global Community strategy on PVC.
The Green Paper tackles two main issues:
- environmental and health questions concerning the use of certain additives in PVC (particularly lead, cadmium and phtalates);
- the question of waste management (landfill, incineration, recycling of PVC waste): PVC waste is expected to increase by about 80% over the next twenty years.
The Green Paper also presents a range of policy options for reducing the impact on human health and the environment and for possible measures to form part of a future Community strategy on PVC.
The Commission wishes to organise the broadest possible consultation on the topics dealt with in the Green Paper, involving the general public, environmental and consumer NGOs, producers, processors and users of PVC, and the public authorities of the Member States. A public hearing was held in October 2000. On the basis of the consultation, the Commission will present a communication on the Community strategy on PVC.
Comments by interested parties were collected by the Commission until November 2000.