Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world with over 35 million tons used every year. Very little of this is recycled, putting a huge burden on landfill sites.
PVC is used in a variety of products. Children’s toys, plates, medical devices, gas pipes, roofing and windows and doors are just some applications for PVC. Despite its widespread use, it is rarely recycled, and it presents a significant hazard to the environment and health.
Mercury is used in the production of new PVC, releasing high quantities into the environment. Chlorine gas, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins are just some of the contaminants that pollute the atmosphere when PVC products are produced or burnt. These compounds can have a negative effect on human health, and they are breathed in by everyone on the planet. They are capable of disrupting hormones, causing infertility and hormone mediated disorders like thyroid disease and certain cancers. Babies and children are particularly susceptible to its effects as it may cause birth defects, suppression of the immune system and neurotoxicity. Dioxins readily cross the placenta and are present in both animal milk and breast milk.
The phthalates added to vinyl to make it pliable are not bonded to the plastic and therefore leak out over time into the air and water. They have an accumulative effect and can cause wheezing and asthma in people exposed to PVC building interiors.
PVC can be Recycled
If PVC is dumped in a landfill, it will not biodegrade, but it can be recycled, either by grounding it down and reforming it into new products or breaking it down to its chemical constituents. This still causes pollution but if more people recycle their PVC, less will need to be manufactured new.
To recycle plastics including uPVC window recycling, why not take them to a company like LKM with a zero landfill policy and put your PVC to better use? Just call or see the website.