“From my viewpoint PVC is a very good Material” says Hans Chr. Schmidt
Over the summer various players at the Danish PVC stage have participated in a debate on the decision of the Minister for Environment, Hans Chr. Schmidt, to lift the taxation on rigid PVC, that was introduced in 2000.
The debate began 13 June, where the chairman of the Ecological Council, Chr. Ege, questioned the reasonability of an abolition of this taxation. With a reference to the cable manufacturer, NKT Cables, Chr. Ege, wrote that the PVC and phthalate tax has had a decisive influence on the fact that PVC-free cables are today competitive in the market and been widely distributed.
On 4 July director of the PVC Information Council Denmark, Ole Grøndahl Hansen, questioned whether there were any environmental gains at all in substituting PVC today. “I do not consider it fruitful to look at PVC as a specially problematic material, that fundamentally differentiate from other materials, which we are having benefit of in our society. Especially not after the results of the environmental investments of the PVC companies are now being realized concretely”, director of the PVC Information Council wrote.
This evaluation Environmental Manager of NKT Cables, Jens Thiesen, did not quite agree with. In the “Ingeniøren” on 1. August Thiesen wrote that PVC on a general view was the proper choice for some products, while for some other products it would be more reasonable to find PVC-free solutions. Jens Thiesen encouraged the government to keep the PVC taxes on products, where it is environmentally well-founded to promote PVC-free solutions. According to Thiesen it is environmentally well-founded to promote alternatives to PVC, when speaking about wires and cables.
Jacob Hartmann, MSc Engineering, of Greenpeace joined the debate, when he on 15 August hit out at the Minister for Environment, partly for camaraderie with the industry, partly for not joining the PVC debate. Hartmann wrote that lifting the PVC taxes was completely foolish and mistaken.
The preliminary culmination of the debate came on 29 August, where Minister for Environment Hans Chr. Schmidt pointed out to Greenpeace: “I think the time has come for Greenpeace to reconsider its attitude to PVC. From my point of view I regard PVC as a very good material – however – I am aware of the problems, that are connected to both the use and the disposal of the material, shall be solved.” As for the abolishment of the taxation on the rigid PVC the Minister for Environment wrote that “environmentally correct behaviour should be recompensed. Whether citizens or undertakings, this is of course also including the PVC industry. In my opinion, it is, as a matter of fact, common sense to lift the tax on the rigid PVC material. The Danish Plastics Federation has already made great efforts to secure that waste products of rigid PVC do not end in our incinerators.”
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