Sustainability is a one of the key demands of customers and regulators of the polyurethane industry in Europe. It was one of the themes at this year’s Europur meeting in Vienna on June 11-13
Sustainability is becoming more important but what do people mean by sustainability and what should the European flexible foam manufacturers be doing to ensure that their products and business approach are sustainable in a rapidly changing and unclear regulatory frame work?
The European Waste legislation framework looks fairly straightforward. There are five main pieces of general European legislation covering the area: The waste framework directive and the waste shipment regulation which give the overall aims. Under these there are the Waste Incineration Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive. There are also a number of regulations covering specific waste streams such as vehicles, waste electronic and electrical equipment.
As far as the flexible and rigid polyurethane foam sectors are concerned, the landfill directive will have the most important changes on the waste landscape over the coming years.
By 2014 this directive sees a reduction in biodegradable waste to landfill to 35% of the 1995 level. The expectation is that the update to the 2013 landfill directive will start to phase out landfill as a destination for high energy waste. This would make it hard to put end of life (EOL) mattresses and furniture into landfill if there were…