The quality of infrastructures is a key driver for maximizing the performance of the utilities networks and minimizing the environmental impacts associated with their operation. The water and sewer pipes are key network elements to guarantee a satisfactory service to the citizens. Their end-of-life management is an essential driver for sustainability.
In line with the principles of the circular economy, the recycling of pipes after dismantling is an important lever to reduce the overall environmental impacts. Being able to be mechanically recycled several times without any impact on their long-term performances, the PVC pipes bring numerous benefits when they are recovered and recycled.
The objective of this study is to estimate, in monetary terms, the benefits of PVC pipes recycling, using the Cost Benefit Analysis methodology. The financial analysis considers PVC pipes, as used in water and sewer networks by utilities in Germany, France and Italy. On one hand, the analysis considers for each country, the costs of recovering, separating and treating PVC pipes at their end of life. On the other hand, the study accounts for the pipe waste disposal savings, the value of the recovered pipe material, the carbon emission savings, the positive economic and employment fall-outs from the recycling business. The very first results yield a positive benefit to cost balance; the benefits brought by recycling overweigh its costs. More findings will highlight different country specific features.
Ambitious targets on recycling have already been realized since decades by the PVC industry. By making the monetary value of PVC pipes recycling visible, this study should encourage the utilities and their contractors to further intensify the recycling of their dismantled networks pipes. The focus of the work is PVC pipes recycling and the net benefits it brings to environment and economic system as a whole.