PVC and the Environment

Ecological evaluation

The environmental compatibility of PVC has been intensively investigated over the past 30 years. At the same time, all the production processes - from the raw materials to PVC - have been ecologically optimised. Thanks to a large number of individual measures, resource input has been minimised and emissions have been drastically reduced. Today's low concentrations of vinyl chloride in the ambient air and in the products mean no health hazard.

The commission of inquiry set up by the German Bundestag under the designation "Protection of Man and the Environment" established already in 1994 that PVC is "one of the most thoroughly investigated materials". At the same time, the commission warns against substituting alternative materials for PVC without considering life cycle assessments. In important fields of application for PVC, such LCAs are now available. They show that PVC compares consistently well with other materials. The low consumption of crude oil and energy is of particular advantage here (PVC comprises 57% chlorine, which is produced from rock salt, and this is available in practically unlimited quantities). The fact that PVC articles are extremely durable and require little maintenance is also of ecological advantage.

An added advantage of PVC is that it is highly suitable for recycling. There are recycling facilities for window frames, piping, flooring, roof sheeting and other applications. PVC's good price/performance ratio means that unnecessary additional costs are avoided. All in all, PVC is a material with ecological and economic advantages.