Jennifer Oblock, executive director of Chemical Fabrics and Film Association-Vinyl Roofing Division (CFFA-VRD), will present an article on PVC (vinyl) roof recycling at the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC) International Convention & Trade Show in Houston, Texas, on March 4. The article, which will also be published in IIBEC’s Interface, is titled “Increasing Sustainability in the Low Slope Roof Market Through PVC (Vinyl) Membrane Recycling.”
Post-consumer recycling of PVC roofing began in 1999, but much work remains to be done. Currently, under one million pounds are recycled each year. Estimates indicate more than 45 million pounds of PVC roofing are currently available for recycling, based on the number of installed roofs and average lifecycle of the material. CFFA-VRD would like to grow the amount recycled by approximately 1 million to 1.5 million pounds each year for the next five to 10 years.
Recycled PVC roofing is feedstock for new products such as roofing walkway pads, commercial-grade flooring, and concrete expansion joints. It is also used as road fill material. Other possibilities include car floor mats and garden hoses.
Because IIBEC attendees are made up primarily of building envelope specifiers and other design professionals who have the ear of building owners, Oblock feels this is the right audience for her association’s message. “Building owners need to be on board with the process of recycling, and this is the audience that can help raise that awareness,” said Oblock. “It’s key that building owners understand that there is a recycling end-of-life disposition for a torn off roof, and that they incorporate recycling into a roof replacement project.”
PVC roofing membranes have been recycled in Europe and North America for more than 20 years. Oblock believes the industry now has an opportunity to capitalize on that experience to greatly increase the amount of material recycled and establish itself as a sustainability leader.
“A 2021 waste management survey revealed that 56% of people equate sustainability with recycling,” said Oblock. “Increasing recycling is the right thing to do and it provides a platform for the industry to build its sustainability story about reducing waste to landfills and reducing carbon in the atmosphere.”
For more information on PVC roofing sustainability, visit https://vinylroofs.org/sustainability/.