In the January issue of the membership magazine „Nachrichten aus der Chemie“ (‚Chemistry News‘) from the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the chemists Natalia P. Iveleva and Reinhard Nießner present data including the results of their pilot study on microplastic particles in Lake Garda. According to these results, the Italian freshwater lake is, as is the case with maritime systems, mainly contaminated with plastics such as PS (45.6%), PE (43.1%) and PP (9.8%). The report states that fragments of non-floating polymers such as PA and PVC were detected in small and very small microplastic particles but not in megaplastics, macroplastics and large microplastics. It goes on to declare that PVC is considered to be one of the five most toxic plastics due to the fact that the monomer is carcinogenic and PVC contains a lot of additives.

The fact that this article has been published by the German Chemical Society is particularly annoying given that the society should actually know better. AGPU therefore plans to take a stand against the article in a written statement. Dr Reichwald von Baerlocher brought the article to our attention together with the following quotation: „PVC is not toxic. The toxicological properties of a polymer cannot be inferred from the properties of the monomer. Toxicity is also not defined by the number of additives in a substance. PVC is used in a multitude of products. Alongside applications in the field of construction, the plastic is also used in pipes for drinking water, packaging films that come into contact with food and in the field of medical engineering. This clearly shows that it is a safe material that does not pose any health risks. The same applies to the additives used in PVC.“

In December, the German environmental magazine „UMWELT MAGAZIN“ from the publishing house VDI-Springer-Verlag featured a technical paper on the topic of energy and resource efficiency written by AGPU Managing Director, Thomas Hülsmann, and AGPU editor Michael Friedrichs. As a result of the excellent response to the paper, AGPU decided to publish a special edition, which is now also available in print form. People interested in reading this German language paper can feel free to request a copy from the AGPU office. The special edition is also available in electronic form as a PDF file.

The topic of energy and resource efficiency is also particularly important in the world of politics, as is shown by the fact that the cabinet decision on the German National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPE) from December 2014 now only needs to pass the Bundesrat. A decision on this matter is expected to be met in February. The tax deductibility and the increase in KfW funding will then take retroactive effect from 1st January 2015 onwards.

Last week, the joint „PVC and Environment“ workshop hosted by AGPU and PlasticsEurope Deutschland took place in Bonn, Germany. After being traditionally kicked off by a dinner attended by around 40 guests on the evening before the event, the workshop yet again offered its total of 80 participants a large amount of input on current topics in the PVC industry and outstanding networking opportunities.

All of the presentations made by speakers at the event can be downloaded in the AGPU member area of the PVC WIKI. The feedback sheets reveal that participants gave the workshop an overall score of 1.6 (on a scale of 1 to 6). They also helped to decide on the date of the next winter workshop, with the majority of participants and the members of the AGPU Knowledge Working Group favouring January 2016. The upcoming summer workshop in June is expected to take place in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

AGPU’s online services enjoy an increasing amount of popularity on the World Wide Web. This is reported in the latest annual review for 2014, which was presented by AGPU Managing Director, Thomas Hülsmann, at the „PVC and Environment“ workshop in Bonn, Germany last week. According to the review, the PVC WIKI, the AGPU homepage and the PVC Recycling Finder website were all particularly successful in recording growing numbers of visitors. The review reveals that last year, nearly 14,500 visitors accessed information on the AGPU website alone.

According to its own figures, the Swedish specialty chemicals company Perstorp, which manufactures a multitude of products, including PVC plasticisers, generated revenues of more than one billion euros in 2012 with 1500 employees in 22 different countries. The company has been a sponsor of the Soft PVC Communication Campaign right from the start in June 2011. Perstorp is also one of the companies working to encourage decision-makers to use soft PVC in the current campaign, which AGPU Media is carrying out on behalf of several partners along the PVC value creation chain.

Against this background, we are particularly delighted that the company decided to become an AGPU member in January 2015. As a new AGPU member, Perstorp is now also able to make the most of a variety of benefits, for example the access to important decision-makers in the world of politics, at public authorities and in German Federal States, towns, cities and communities, as well as environmental experts in the fields of trade, commerce and industry. Welcome to AGPU!