Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

PVC replacement could help to save planet

BETTER BOTTLE TOPS:A silicone rubber that has properties similar to PVC used in metal bottle tops could reduce the plastic’s environmental impact, the EPA said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The plastic used in metal caps on glass bottles and jars could be replaced by a newly developed rubber, thereby helping to reduce damage to the environment, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The agency introduced “liquid silicone rubber” as a replacement for the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in metal twist caps, which was the result of a one-year cooperation with the Plastic Industry Development Center.

The agency said PVC is used in many household items, but studies have shown that it creates toxic dioxins through incineration — causing damage to health and the environment, which has prompted global efforts to reduce its use.

Measures in Taiwan include a 100 percent redemption coupon for recycling containers that include PVC material, introduced in 2008.

While the silicone rubber has properties similar to PVC, such as in its stretching and twisting potential, it nevertheless helps to improves food and environmental safety, the agency said.

The agency added that the material does not contain plasticizers or heavy metals, meaning that the silicon rubber complies with food safety standards.

The agency’s Recycling Fund Management Board executive secretary, Ma Nien-ho (馬念和), said that at the current low-volume production, the silicone rubber costs about three to four times as much as PVC, but if recycling and other treatment costs are included in the calculation, it proves to be cost-effective.

The agency said that the Industrial Development Bureau is to further explore ways to mass produce the silicone rubber.

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