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On June 1, 2017 Van Straaten will completely eliminate all materials that contain PVC from their production facilities. This is the next logical step towards making the industry of visual branding a sustainable one.

With the elimination of PVC, Van Straaten continues to pursue its sustainable ambitions. The first steps on the journey to a fully sustainable operation were taken in 2016 when Van Straaten acquired the Durst Rhotex 500, the largest sublimation printer in the world. The textiles used for sublimation print, such as Deco and Blockout, are already free from PVC and, moreover, REACH-certified. For the other printers, Van Straaten is now switching to environmentally friendly alternatives such as EcoMESH. This means that production facilities will be completely PVC-free from 1 June 2017.

Director Niels van Straaten explains: "Every brand that takes itself seriously, takes sustainability seriously. Nevertheless, we see that many companies, especially in the exhibitions industry, do not go beyond publishing a sustainability strategy on the website. By eliminating PVC from our manufacturing processes, we are helping our customers to make that sustainability step. Frontlit and MESH now belong to the past, materials such as EcoMESH, Deco and Blockout have the future."

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, responds positively to Van Straaten's step. "PVC is one of the five most widely produced plastics in the world, whilst it is extremely harmful to the environment. As PVC decomposes, it releases toxic chemicals, harming oceans, people and animals. By eliminating PVC completely, Van Straaten shows it takes sustainability seriously. I can only hope that other companies in this industry will follow soon.”

The elimination of PVC is part of a broader sustainability strategy for Van Straaten. In 2020, the visual branding specialist will completely switch to sustainable energy supply and be completely CO2 neutral. For this purpose, Van Straaten installed 750 solar panels on the roofs of its own experience center, production halls and offices. These buildings are also equipped with energy-saving LED lighting whilst being heated CO2-neutral heated with wood-fired pellet stoves. Niels Van Straaten: "We want to be not only trendsetting in visual branding but also in sustainability."