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PVC: properties, uses, sustainability

Where this material comes from, how it is used and how you recycle it

In the past years, we have often heard of PVC as a material found in many products. That’s because it is an extremely versatile, sustainable, and resistant substance that finds application in many different sectors, especially in the construction industry.

Even though PVC can be found in many different objects of our everyday life, not everyone knows exactly what it is. Let’s find out, and let’s see how it is produced, where it can be employed, and how to dispose of it.

How is PVC made?

PVC stands for PolyVinyl Chloride. It is a plastic material, that provides two main advantages: it is versatile and cheap. Besides these two features, PVC is largely used also for design purposes since it perfectly suits the needs of living environments.

Polyvinyl chloride was first discovered in the mid-19th century, while its patent dates back to early 1900. This means, on the one hand, that PVC is a relatively new material. On the other, it has been around for over a century already. The 20th century was a time of great technological progress, so the uses and compositions of PVC were constantly being innovated.

In its basic form, polyvinyl chloride has a brittle structure. Only by adding other substances and through processes that allow customizing the material, PVC takes the form we are familiar with.

PVC: a special plastic

Thanks to its peculiarities, PVC is largely employed in the construction market. It is a thermoplastic material that stands out for both its considerable elasticity and its great resistance.

One of its most efficient features is that it absorbs very little moisture and water, and is resistant to fire. That’s because PVC contains chlorine, which is a fire-retardant substance that helps hinder flame propagation. It also has good electrical insulating properties and is resistant to acids.

Thanks to the material versatility, during production, it is possible to balance all these properties in different ways according to the intended use of the final product. For example, it is possible to make it particularly resistant to wear and abrasion, to chemicals, to aging, or the action of fungi and bacteria.

PVC is a very safe material with long durability. All these features, combined with its low price, make it one of the preferred choices for the construction and design of domestic and work environments.

Where and how is PVC used?

Thanks to its thermoplastic and resistance features, the major application field of PVC is undoubtedly the construction market. It is employed everywhere: for coverings, coatings, pipes, ducts, but also thermal and sound insulation panels. It is also used for doors and windows construction, and in interior design, especially for skirting boards and corner covers. Here, it allows the creation of aesthetically pleasant products with great durability and adaptability.

However, this is not the only field in which this plastic is employed to a large extent. In the automotive industry, many accessories (such as airbags, mats, dashboards, etc.) are made in PVC. As a matter of fact, PVC can be found in many objects of our everyday life: caps, hermetic seals, can coverings, containers, tanks. Even in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, PVC is employed in the construction of dialysis tubes.

PVC sustainability and recycling

Since PVC is composed of natural substances, PVC production uses a reduced quantity of non-renewable raw materials and consumes a low amount of energy. This makes this special plastic eco-friendly.

Moreover, polyvinyl chloride can be easily recycled: in recent years, PVC manufacturers have been largely investing in the development of new technologies to recycle and reuse this material. Resource optimization, separate waste collection, and the resulting recovery of raw materials allow preserving important natural resources.

In 2019, the PVC recycling goal had achieved 96%. That was a very impressive result. However, due to the Covid pandemic, the recycling trend has decreased during 2020. The critical situation has led to an overproduction of new material rather than to diligent disposal of waste.

Still, there is good news for PVC: between 2019 and 2020, additives harmful to the environment and human health have been reduced and replaced.

Trafil makes a practical, cheap, and sustainable choice

Trafil catalogue offers many PVC products. This choice has been designed to meet the needs of clients that look for versatile, resistant products with a good quality-price ratio.

We live in a time when sustainability and respect for the environment are fundamental. Trafil chooses to use an innovative and recyclable plastic material that doesn’t require the creation of new raw material and doesn’t burden on energy consumption.

If you want to join us with this choice, check our catalogue: you will find many products for the construction and decoration of different environments.


Have a look at our catalog

from Riciclo PVC, target mancato causa COVID, in “Polimerica”, 17th May 2021



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