Probably not the thing you noticed while watching the opening of the 2012 London Olympics, Harry Potter films, Robbie Williams concerts or events at hundreds of US sporting facilities, but it’s there: Graboplast flooring. If it didn’t steal the limelight, it’s striving for star status in Europe’s circular economy.

How? With a seven-step process to make greener not only the flooring, but the manufacturing of it.

Swiss-based GeorgFischer, in this case through its German subsidiary GF DEKA, has been innovating since it began, developing new alloys back when Napoleon was running France and Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata. Today its GF Piping Systems is a world leader with the latest tech developments in transporting liquids and gases, including for food and drinking water.

As in any major city, space is dear and not everyone can have their own garden. Austrian designer Anna-Vera Deinhammer asked: why not? We can always go up! She combined her imagination with Solvay Vienna to create PVC wall gardens using what she calls Living Mats.

VPW Nink GmbH knows a lot about covering greenhouses and garden pavilions. It’s based in the
 1000-year-old German Harz mountain town of Sangerhausen, where the Europa Rosarium contains the largest rose collection in the world. No wonder the production of Salux® PVC corrugated sheets has steadily upgraded with the latest tech advances.

Part of a 60-year-old company with a tradition of innovation, Bremen-based Actega DS has developed a new PVC plastisol for some of the most sensitive medical applications, including catheters for cardiac surgery.

“Those catheters are designed for venous cannulation, extracorporal blood circulation and other cardiac treatments,” says Dennis Siepmann, Business Development Manager at Actega DS, whose parent company is Altana. “From a toxicological point of view, the cured plastisol is considered bio-compatible and has passed all required testing.”

All too often, a home renovation can turn into a bottomless money pit. Here’s where a bit of Aluplast’s Energeto ingenuity can make it worthwhile. This window system is even certified as an energy-saving passive house solution, suitable for renovations. And more theft-resistant too.

How did Germany’s Aluplast shrink a window’s carbon footprint? By attacking the strongest and yet the most thermically vulnerable part – the steel reinforcement. But first they tried other methods.

The EU is investing millions to develop alternatives to carbon and glass fibre. Alpas’ solution: bio-composites made with up to 70% recycled materials as well as Eco-PVC, used for everything from planes to furniture, even candleholders.

Working with universities and research institutions, using EU seed money under the FP7 program, Alpas developed cellulose-based bio-polyurethane composites that can meet the needs of demanding manufacturers, who in turn are under pressure from customers searching for ecological and safe products.

Having a hard time getting children to eat their five-a-day? What if the vegetables on the dinner table would have fun, whimsical shapes to make them more appealing? What if you could create romantic desserts with heart-shaped, star-shaped fruit?

Extruplesa and Zayintec have developed PVC-moulds to shape your tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, mandarins, and many other varieties as they grow. During the past two years the creators have been expanding their possibilities in their farm trial research.

A firm like Benecke-Kaliko, commanding a large part of Europe’s market for auto interior sheeting, knows well the need to adapt to market pressures. They also know that people will spend on average up to two and half years of their lives inside their cars. Comfort, and sustainability, are top priorities.

It was decades ago that Austrian artist-designer-architect F. Hundertwasser dreamed up homes with plant-covered exteriors. Technology since then has leapt and bounded. Proof of that is Sioen Industries’ vegetative textile wall.

The Belgium-based company teamed up with Vertical Ecosystems to get rid of the glass and steel components commonly used in vegetative walls in the past. The alternative: PVC-coated textiles and non-woven materials to create a far lighter wall.