On 20th May 2014, Prowindo invited representatives from the fields of politics and the environment to a parliamentary breakfast held in Berlin. A few weeks ago, Dr Franziska Krüger and Dr Johanna Wurbs from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) followed up their discussions at the event by visiting the recycling plant run by the environmental technology company VEKA Umwelttechnik in the town of Hörselberg-Hainich (near Eisenach) in the German Federal State of Thuringia in order to gain a first-hand insight into the recycling of PVC windows in action.

Norbert Bruns (Managing Director of VEKA Umwelttechnik) was joined on the tour of the facility by Ralf Olsen (Managing Director of pro-K), Michael Vetter (Managing Director of Prowindo) and the AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann.

This visit was particularly important against the background of the assessment of the so-called „legacy additives“, former additives that are no longer used in PVC products but can still be found in recycled PVC material. Our aim is to achieve an exception where this issue is concerned so that these established mechanical recycling activities can continue to take place in the future. This is the only way to ensure that the PVC loop can be closed and valuable resources conserved. We look forward to hearing what the UBA has to say on the matter.

The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) recently published a detailed report on existing regulations concerning environmentally friendly procurement in Germany. According to the UBA experts, the city states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are all pioneers when it comes to the implementation of suitably binding regulations. On a more negative note, the report also criticises the fact that as of the deadline for the collection of data in January 2014, a multitude of German states still only use directory provisions, recommendations or guidelines where the topic of environmentally friendly procurement is concerned.

The report, which covers a total of nearly 50 pages, also deals with PVC. The overview of the German Federal State of Hamburg, for example, refers to a resolution on PVC from 1999 that is still valid today. The resolution, which was passed on 20th April at the request of the city parliament, stipulates that the use of PVC must be avoided if suitable alternative products are available. The „rather outdated“ resolution is also quoted in the current procurement guidelines of the City of Hamburg (July 2014). AGPU is currently working in cooperation with several of its members in an attempts to establish contact with those responsible for this matter in Hamburg.