Water reticulation, drainage and pipe fitting systems manufacturer DPI Plastics has been recognised by the Southern African Vinyls Association (Sava) as a best practice polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturer after becoming a signatory to the association’s environmental standards commitment pledge, the Product Stewardship Programme (PSP), in January.
Having successfully displayed its range of sewerage and drainage products at the Dawn House of Brands stand at the 2012 Plumbdrain Expo, in Johannesburg, in August, DPI technical and product manager Renier Snyman notes that the company has gained considerable market interest from potential clients looking to obtain a green star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
“The GBCSA announced that the use of PVC products in sustainable projects will no longer be penalised by removing the Mat-7 PVC minimisation clause from its green star tool rating system. The removal of the clause means environment-conscious contractors can benefit from PVC products, while ensuring that they have a neutral impact on their green star rating. The expo served as a good platform for DPI to highlight these advantages, while obtaining feedback from customers in a face-to-face environment,” he explains.
As a Sava PSP signatory, DPI has committed itself to five fundamental key aspects of the manufacture of PVC piping products.
DPI will set realistic timeframes for the delivery of key undertakings in the production and storage, as well as the responsible and sustainable use of, additives, and in waste management, research and public reporting.
The company will also quantify the opportunity for recycling of postproduction and postconsumer waste, as well as set realistic and sustainable goals and deliver on end-of-life-cycle challenges pertaining to PVC.
Snyman says DPI Plastics has also committed itself to the Sava targets for the national PVC industry of increasing recycling of postconsumer PVC-P to 15 000 t/y, while increasing recycling of postconsumer PVC-U to 5 000 t by January 2013.
Further, DPI will deal with industry, public and government perceptions constructively through effective communication of the science and the local applicability of its product and also ensure the vinyl industry’s health through product devel- opment, improving human capital and helping to ensure overall growth, prosperity and sustainability.
DPI will add value to Sava members and the industry as a whole and grow a sustainable membership base with an effective marketing plan.
He adds that DPI is also playing a major role with the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturer’s Association (Sappma) in entirely eliminating lead from all locally manufactured plastic pipes.
“Sappma, which was established to create absolute quality, trust and integrity throughout the value chain of the industry, with DPI as a founding member of the organisation, successfully eliminated all lead stabilisers from Sappma members’ piping products in 2010 – five years ahead of the anticipated European Union targets,” Snyman continues.
Meanwhile, he says Sappma and its members have completed a case study involving a framework of initiatives designed to exclude lead stabilisers from all future South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) specifications, which will then be presented to a technical committee.
“Our proposals have been well received by the SABS to date, and I am confident that the technical committee will make the decision to exclude lead stabilisers from future specifications by the end of this year.”
Although lead creates no immediate risk to the end-user, it does pose a serious risk during the manufacturing process, as raw lead comes in powder form and creates a toxic dust that can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin by factory workers and suppliers of the lead stabilisers.
DPI and other Sappma members decided to remove lead from the manufacturing process on a voluntary basis, as part of the ongoing commitment to corporate, social and environmental responsibility,” says Snyman.
These Sappma members began the process of removing lead stabilisers from the manufacturing process in 2006, and have entirely replaced it with calcium or zinc and organic-based stabilisers that are nontoxic to humans.
Snyman stresses the fact that lead is only being eliminated from PVC piping to reduce risks on the manufacturing side, and he assures all end-users that currently have lead-bonded PVC pipes that they are not exposed to any risks.
“Lead has been used as a PVC pipe stabiliser worldwide for more than 40 years, and has excellent heat and ultraviolet resistance, which ensures a good cost-to-performance ratio.
During the manufacturing process, the lead is chemically bonded to the PVC pipe and cannot leach from the pipe,” he explains.
All pipes containing lead undergo SANS 966 tests every year to ensure the stabiliser does not leach.