The Southern African Vinyls Association’s (SAVA) new theme, ‘Building for the future’, will be driving the industry body’s activities and projects for the 2020/2021 financial year, says SAVA chairman George Dimond.

“Polyvinyl chloride, also known as vinyl or simply PVC, is the third-most produced plastic in the world and is often referred to as ‘the building plastic’. Although it is used in a wide range of different uses and applications, 70% of all PVC produced in Europe goes into materials commonly used in building applications, such as windows, pipes, flooring, roofing membranes and other building products. In South Africa, the situation is very much the same, with 50% of all the locally PVC produced going into the pipe industry, followed by cables, custom profiles, conduits and accessories,” Dimond explains.

Vinyl products given green light

The use of vinyl products in building and construction received a major boost in October 2011 after a Technical Steering Committee of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) withdrew the Mat-7 PVC Minimisation credit from the Green Star SA rating system. Acknowledging the progress SAVA and its members made in addressing the historical environmental concerns and improving the environmental performance of vinyl products used in the construction and decorating industries, this decision effectively gave architects, building contractors and specifiers the thumbs up to use vinyl products in their projects.

During the past nine years, Dimond says SAVA has continued to assist its members, relevant authorities and experts to understand, characterise and address issues associated with the life cycle of vinyl products through its Product Stewardship Commitment (PSC).

“As an industry, we continue to work towards ever improving our environmental credentials through the responsible and sustainable use of additives, the implementation of various sustainable recycling programmes and the promotion of a healthy vinyls industry. Awarding our Vinyl-dot Product Label recently to 21 of our members was an important step towards confirming PVC products as being safe, sustainable and responsible,” he says.

2021 industry conference

SAVA will be exploring the theme of ‘Building for the future’ further when it hosts its one-day industry conference next year on 9 June 2021 at Emperors’ Palace, and when it participates in the GBCSA’s annual Green Building Convention in October this year.

“Whether it is used in blood bags, water pipes, sports equipment or shoes and accessories, vinyl truly has become indispensable for our modern life thanks to its versatility, unique technical properties, recyclability and affordability. We anticipate that infrastructure development in southern Africa and the rest of the African continent will continue to push the demand for PVC to well above the world average. SAVA wants to ensure that we are building and positioning our local industry in such a way that we will be able to meet the needs of these markets in the years to come and make the most of every opportunity that is afforded to us,” Dimond concludes.