A smart material

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is one of the most widely used polymers in the world. It was first produced commercially in the late 1920s after additives were blended into this mixture to create a plastic which quickly became popular for its flexible, durable and cost-effective qualities. Today, about 37 million tonnes of PVC are produced worldwide, of which around 5,5 million tonnes are made in Europe – making PVC Europe's third most popular plastic.

PVC brings important benefits to products and applications in areas as diverse as construction, automobile manufacturing, medical devices, electronics and electrical equipment, packaging and fashion. Whether it is rigid or flexible, PVC helps to make cars lighter and resistant against corrosion, it enables windows to last longer, allows fresh water delivery through the use of durable piping, and stores blood to save and improve people's lives.

Vinyl applications can perform effectively for much longer than alternative materials . Their life-span can range from 30 to 100 years in the case of cables, pipes and window profiles. In addition, PVC products need minimal maintenance, and hence very limited additional consumption of energy, raw materials and chemicals is necessary to ensure their continued functionality. As a result, PVC has the advantage of remaining in use for a long period before it enters into the waste chain

When it reaches its end of life, PVC can be recycled. In fact, PVC has the longest history of recycling amongst plastics and the most advanced level of mechanical recycling.

To learn more about the properties of PVC and its many uses, visit www.pvc.org.