News 

A first for commercial flooring in Australia 

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The NSW Minister for Environment Mark Speakman has just awarded funding to a collaboration organised by the Vinyl Council of Australia for a landmark project to improve recycling solutions for commercial vinyl flooring.

Currently it is estimated that 4,500 tonnes of commercial vinyl flooring ends up in NSW landfills each year, with an estimated 13,500 to 15,000 tonnes Australia-wide. These figures will continue to grow unless viable end uses are identified.

Vinyl flooring is the material of choice in hospitals, schools and retail. Made of limestone and vinyl, it is easy to clean, low maintenance, hard wearing and has a long 20+ year life. But like other forms of resilient flooring, when removed it is often contaminated with flooring residues and glues, making recycling difficult.

As a result of the grant, during 2016, a qualified researcher will work with companies and industry associations to crack the puzzle via chemical and mechanical trials to find economically and technically viable processes and useful products for commercial vinyl flooring recyclate.

This project will leverage upon the lessons and successes of international flooring recycling projects, such as RecoFloor in the UK, which is an industry-funded product stewardship scheme collecting and reprocessing flooring into products such as road cones and safety barriers.

‘We are delighted to have created a team of brilliant minds, innovators and leaders in their fields contributing their time, expertise and facilities to find a solution to this Australia-wide waste of materials. This grant of $59,500 will leverage industry investments for a total budget of $219,800,’ said Helen Millicer, Manager of Industry Recycling Strategy, VCA.

‘We have a skilled research assistant in chemistry at UNSW, highly experienced reprocessors at Cryogrind, successful manufacturer in Boral Industries, and suppliers Armstrong World Industries, Gerflor, Tarkett and other members of the Australian Resilient Flooring Association who are keen to take the flooring industry in Australia into a sustainable 21st century.  We will also liaise with leaders in the commercial property industry, construction and demolition through programs such as the NSW Better Building Partnership providing industry-wide engagement and coordination.’

‘The solution to this challenge cannot be found by one organisation alone, and we are delighted to have received funding support from the NSW Environment Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.  A grant such as this that supports innovation and reprocessing in Australia is a game changer. It means that we can manage a focused and properly resourced project with contributing partners to find viable products and end-market alternatives and thereby prevent the ongoing loss of quality material to landfill.’

This project is one of two recycling research initiatives coordinated by the Vinyl Council of Australia to receive funding from the NSW Environment Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative. For details on advertising banners contact the VCA or go to the VCA website.

For more information and photos contact:

Helen Millicer, Project Manager, Vinyl Industry Recycling Strategy, Vinyl Council of Australia
0413 875 872, [email protected]
www.vinyl.org.au/recycling and http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/2015-problem-waste.htm

 



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