Plastic pipes and fittings are a smart and sustainable solution

 

Plastic pipes and fittings are a smart and sustainable solution for the transportation of water and energy. Plastic pipes are:

  • Smart – Plastic pipes and fittings are the engineered material of choice for many key essential services such as water, stormwater, waste water, recycled water, electrical, communications services and gas. Plastic pipes and fittings are also important in irrigation, mining and chemical applications.
  • Safe:
    • Plastic pipes and fittings provide safe, clean drinking water for communities throughout Australia as they are stable and inert.
    • They do not corrode and do not change the water chemistry.
    • The chemical resistance of different plastic pipes provides an essential way of safely conveying chemicals in aggressive environments.
    • All Vinidex manufactured PVC and PE pipes and fittings can be used safely when in contact with drinking water, as they are specifically tested to AS/NZS 4020. Download our statement of suitability.
    • No heavy metals or lead stabilisers, no phthalates; no dioxins, no BPAs in PVC, PE or PP manufactured products.
  • Engineered for long life. Plastic pipes:
    • Have long life – plastic pipes and fittings have been in use in Australia for over 60 years.
    • Are designed for long service life – plastic pipes can have a service life of 100 years in the ground before major rehabilitation is needed.
    • Are an engineered solution – plastic pipes and fittings have been engineered to provide a material efficient solution to transport of water and energy. They are not single-use plastics.
    • Have successfully replaced previous materials used in water networks. They are also a key part of water authorities ability to repair and rehabilitate older pipeline materials.
    • Can provide a range of engineered products for non-pressure and pressure applications.
  • Sustainable – have low embodied energy. Plastic pipes and fittings are engineered to be materially efficient for the specific application.
  • Plastic pipes and fittings can be recycled, an important contributor to waste reduction.

 

 

Vinidex's commitment to sustainability

 

Vinidex strives to be an industry leader in improving sustainability outcomes for Australian customers and our environment:

  • Founding Members of the Green Building Council of Australia to contribute to increasing standards of sustainability of the built environment

    The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has a set of building rating tools (Green Star) that evaluate the environmental design and construction of buildings. Green Star has achieved widespread acceptance by developers and government.

    Early versions of the Green Star ratings tool contained a PVC minimisation clause. However a review in 2010 found that significant improvements had been made on the Australian PVC industry.

    “A rigorous PVC literature review revealed that where international opposition to PVC remained it was based on historical industry practices which had led to unacceptable health risks and/or environmental impacts. These concerns did not take into account the significant achievements within the PVC industry in recent years, particularly in Australia and Europe, to reduce the environmental and human health risks previously associated with PVC building materials. In addition, these concerns did not reflect the findings of independent scientific assessments, as well as comparative risk and impact studies, between PVC and non-PVC alternative materials.”1

    Download the full report from the GBCA website.

    The PVC literature review found that, while there are still some challenges to be addressed, PVC performs as well as, or better than, the alternatives in most product categories. Furthermore, it found that environmental and human health risks associated with PVC can be minimised by using best practices in the manufacturing and end-of-life management phases of the PVC life cycle.

    In April 2010, the GBCA introduced the new PVC credit to all the Green Star tools which effectively:

    • Removed the minimisation approach. PVC in general will not be penalised when used in projects in recognition of the fact that “PVC performs as well as, or better than, the alternatives in most product categories”1– this is definitely the case for PVC pipe
    • Adopts a new approach which rewards the use of “best practice” PVC.  The new credit encourages the use of independently verified “best practice” PVC products with the potential award of up to two additional credit points where such products are used
    • One additional credit point where 60% of PVC products (by cost) complies with the independently verified Best Practice Guidelines for PVC in Built Environment
    • Two additional credit points where 90% of PVC products comply

    References:

    1. GBCA “Background and Outcomes of the Green Star PVC Minimisation Credit Review”

  • Leaders in technical innovation and development of material efficient products

    Vinidex products are installed daily in projects critical to the effective and efficient use of water, management of wastewater, delivery of gas and protection of electrical and communications assets. At Vinidex we recognise the importance of increasing environmental sustainability – one of the ways we do this is by developing and promoting material efficient products. These products offer the same or, in some cases, superior engineering performance to established products while using less material in their manufacture. This produces savings in the use of raw materials, energy, transportation and installation costs. Vinidex material efficient products are highlighted below.

     

    Supermain® PVC-O

    Vinidex Supermain® oriented PVC pressure pipe is the most technically advanced PVC pipe available. Molecular orientation enhances the mechanical properties of the material conferring considerable performance advantages. Supermain® requires less energy to produce and uses half the material of conventional PVC pipe. These environmental and engineering advantages mean Supermain® is the high-performance, cost-effective pipe material choice for pressure applications.

     

    StormPRO® and SewerPRO®

    Vinidex material efficient twin walled corrugated polypropylene stormwater and sewerage pipe is produced with reduced raw materials. It has long life, is durable and is recyclable at the end of its life. StormPRO® and SewerPRO® have less exfiltration than old materials, reducing pollution and have less infiltration which means savings on treatment costs due to lower volumes being treated.

     

    Corflo®

    Vinidex Corflo® is high-performance double-wall PVC pipe with a smooth internal bore and corrugated exterior for electrical applications. It complements the Vinidex range of material-efficient PVC pipes.

     

     

    Vinidex Hydro®
  • Independently verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

    What is an EPD?

    “An EPD® (Environmental Product Declaration) is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products.” – The International EPD® System

    Vinidex EPDs

    Vinidex has published a number of EPDs to cover our range of pipe products. These EPDs have been produced and independently verified in accordance with ISO 14025 and EN 15804 and are registered with the Australasian EPD Programme.

    These EPDs cover:

    • Product information, content declaration, product life cycle assessment, environmental assessment of performance, health assessment, assessment of recyclability potential, and product specifications.

    Vinidex published EPDs:

  • Signatories to the Australian PVC industry’s Product Stewardship Program

    In 2002, the Vinyl Council of Australia launched a voluntary product stewardship initiative to recognise and address all environmental issues facing the Australian PVC industry. Signatories to the Product Stewardship Program undertake to meet binding commitments in a given time frame covering a wide range of environmental initiatives including energy efficiency and greenhouse emissions, additives and end-of-life management. Vinidex has been a signatory to the Product Stewardship Program since its foundation.

    Vinidex was awarded the PVC Stewardship Excellence Award for 2017-18 & again in 2019-20. This award certifies that Vinidex met 100% of the Australian PVC industry’s Product Stewardship commitments.

    Commitments

    Product Stewardship commitments cover environmental and health issues over the life cycle of PVC products, from the production of raw materials through manufacture of products, their use and subsequent recycling or disposal. Since PVC is used in a wide range of applications, not all commitments are relevant to all signatories. Commitments are grouped under the following key categories.

    1. Production and Storage
    2. Stabiliser and Pigment Use
    3. Plasticiser Use
    4. Waste Management
    5. Research
    6. Public Reporting

    Progress

    In the 10 years since the Program was launched, significant progress has been achieved. Heavy metal stabilisers and additives containing lead and cadmium have been phased out and replaced by alternatives. Strategies to advance recycling of PVC in Australia have been formulated and implemented. Environmental Management Systems have been adopted and “life cycle thinking” approaches promoted.

  • Vinidex manufactures Best Environmental Practice (BEP) PVC pipe

    The verification guidelines for Best Environmental Practice (BEP) PVC are detailed in Industry Guidelines. The guidelines cover the environmental impacts and health risks associated with the manufacture and end life management of PVC products used in buildings. They include strict minimum compliance requirements for PVC supply chain constituents, PVC resin production, PVC product manufacture and end of life management – recycling.

    The Australian Standards that cover PVC pipe and fittings are being amended to incorporate the GBCA Best Environmental Practice (BEP) requirements. A number of amended standards have already been published.

    Vinidex PVC pipes have been independently certified as complying with BEP Guidelines.

    Download the Vinidex BEP PVC certificate.

    Some facts about Vinidex PVC pipe

    Australian PVC is made to the highest standard worldwide
    • PVC pipe is rigid and has no plasticisers – so no phthalates in PVC pipe
    • Much of Australia’s PVC raw materials are already sourced from non-mercury based production. The GBCA best practice guidelines will require independent certification of these sources
    • Australian PVC pipe standards are the only National Standards worldwide to exclude heavy metal stabilisers – another GBCA best practice requirement. Therefore, no lead, cadmium or mercury-based compounds are added to Australian PVC pipe
    • Australian PVC pipe standards set the lowest VCM thresholds of any National Standards worldwide at 1ppm
    • The Australian Standards for PVC pipe have the Best Environmental Practice (BEP) requirements developed by the GBCA embedded in them to facilitate and openly encourage responsible sourcing of raw materials, best practice manufacturing, fully independent third party certification compliance, simpler procurement and easier identification of compliant products. No other Australian or International product standards have taken this step
    • There are no dioxins in PVC pipe
    Australia genuinely is a world leader in oriented PVC pressure pipe technology – PVC-O
    • Double the strength of the old PVC-U or PVC-M material
    • Significantly improved impact and point load resistance
    • High strength means around 50% less material is required for the same pressure class – so less demand on raw materials, lower energy required to transport and easier handling
    • Thinner wall thickness means larger internal bore and better hydraulic performance
    • PVC-O has the lowest embodied energy of any of the competing reticulation pressure pipe systems – confirmed by the CSIRO
    Structured wall and multi-layer non-pressure pipe for DWV, Stormwater and conduit applications
    • Structured wall and foamed core technology means less material without compromising pipe performance
    • Material efficiencies with around 25-30% saved on raw materials
    • These material efficient non-pressure options mean PVC pipe provides the lowest embodied energy pipe options for DWV and Stormwater applications
    Durability
    • Durability has always been a strong point for PVC pipe – the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) rate PVC in their highest category with a life expectancy of in excess of 100 years
    • PVC pressure pipe is the best-performing infrastructure pipe system in Australia – WSAA data, CSIRO analysis
    • Long life products significantly contribute to the overall sustainability of the asset because the pipe system outlasts the building
    PVC pipe is recyclable and is being recycled now!
    • PVC is a thermoplastic and easily recycled
    • The Australian PVC pipe industry has established recycling operations in Sydney and Melbourne – mining the waste stream for PVC pipe and turning it into new PVC pipe
    • Like for like recycling is easily achieved with PVC pipe
    • Multilayer pipe technology is ideally suited to use recyclate
    Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
    • LCA looks at the total life cycle of a product
    • PVC equals or outperforms all other commonly available pipe alternatives in both pressure reticulation and DWV applications – based on Edge Environment research
  • Vinidex recycling as ongoing part of manufacturing

    Vinidex recycles scrap from its manufactured products – PVC pipe, Polyethylene (PE) pipe, Polypropylene (PP) pipe and PVC fittings.

    Vinidex re-processes all in-house scrap and has done so for over thirty years to minimise wastage. Scrap is collected and granulated into a form suitable for extruded pipes and injection moulded fittings. Any material that cannot be reprocessed on site is sent to third parties for recycling.

    Vinidex also reduces wastage in the greater community by recycling external waste bought in from building sites, reusing decommissioned pipes no longer needed, using packaging waste and offcuts from other industries.
    For more information and details on which Vinidex sites can take your pipe for recycling, please click here

  • Improved environmental footprint in manufacturing and distribution facilities

    Vinidex is a major consumer of electricity and consumption of this energy resource is directly related to production output. We have actively sought ways to reduce our consumption of electricity without adversely affecting production or product quality. A number of key performance indicators such as energy consumed per tonne of product manufactured are used by Vinidex to continually monitor consumption in the production process and help us see where improvements can be made. In addition to our manufacturing process, upgrades at our facilities have reduced our energy consumption.

    Vinidex continuous improvement programs in areas such as reduction of waste from our manufacturing and distribution sites have resulted in significant reductions – for example, three major sites over a number of months in 2019 reduced dry waste removed from sites by 30-40% compared with 2018.