February 19, 2014
 Requirement of Labeling PVC in GPN Guidelines Abolished

  In February, the Green Purchasing Network (GPN) board meeting decided to remove an article in its green purchase guidelines requirement of labeling PVC. The article was based on a misunderstanding that incineration of PVC increases the generation of dioxins.

  The GPN Guidelines are used as criteria for green purchase policies of the local governments, community bodies and companies. The article is included in 10 guidelines covering wide range of categories, such as office supplies, home electrical appliances, stationeries. The first one was the one for stationeries established in 1996.

  PVC, comparing with other commonly-used plastics, is a material which uses less fossil fuel as resource. Many PVC products serve much longer periods, more than 15 years, than other major plastics. It also has a better environmental performance as it is easy to mechanically recycle. Such advantages were well taken by the PVC floor-covering manufacturers to win the Eco Mark Awards in 2011 and 2012 consecutively. However, the misunderstanding about PVC as a dioxin-generator has not been cleared up for a long time.

  The amounts of dioxins generated are not proportional to that of chlorine in the mass incinerated. Chlorine exists in many forms, such as salt in garbage bleach in paper products, etc., and the amount derives from PVC is limited. Burning anything can generate dioxins as a trace of chlorine also exists in the atmosphere. However, the generation can be drastically reduced by controlling the incineration. The emissions from the waste incinerators in Japan sharply dropped to 1/100 of 1997 level by 2011. Metropolitan Tokyo Government changed its policy to send plastic wastes to incinerators instead to landfill in 2008 which raised the concentration of chlorine in the incinerators, however, the amounts of dioxin emissions remain to gradually decline.

  We encourage those who have their green purchase policies following the GPN guidelines to promptly change them according to the GPN decision, to take advantage of the environmental performance of the PVC products.

Purchasing Guidelines requiring a labeling of PVC 


Facsimile Machines
Washing Machines Televisions
Personal Computers Lighting Toilet facilities
Refrigerators Air Conditioners
Stationery and Office Supplies Furniture

News release from GPN on the amendment of their guidelines (Japanese only)