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PVC-U AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Presenting the facts about sustainability and recyclability of PVC-U materials.


The company is dedicated to meeting the requirements of Vinyl Plus and its ongoing programme.

Click here to visit the British Plastics Federation website to find out more


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INTRODUCTION

The European PVC industry has, over recent years, initiated a number of far reaching policies that have been incorporated into the Voluntary Commitment to the European Commission, Vinyl Plus, demonstrating that the whole life cycle of PVC is sustainable.

POLYVINYLCHLORIDE
PVC is one of the most successful modern synthetic materials. It makes excellent use of scarce resources, is long-lasting and safe in production, use and disposal. The effect of PVC on health and the environment, from manufacture to disposal, has been more thoroughly researched than almost any other synthetic material.

PVC-U stands for polyvinylchloride-unplasticised. It is used in the manufacture of rigid PVC such as

  • trunking and rainwater systems
  • window and door profile
  • many other building industry products

PVC-P is the plasticised form of PVC that uses plasticisers to create flexible products:

  • water bottles and blood bags
  • stethoscopes and medical tubing
  • electrical cabling

PVC-C (CPVC) is Chlorinated Polyvinylchloride. CPVC is a thermoplastic pipe used extensively for:

  • hot and cold water distribution systems
  • potable water piping

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF PVC-U

  • No harm to the environment from dioxin emissions.
  • 100% recyclable products mean prolonged on-going usage.
  • Environmental benefit from PVC-U remaining inert in landfill.
  • Excellent fire performance from PVC-U with significantly less fire propagation than many other materials.
  • Low intrinsic (43%) oil content is only 4% of the world's oil is used for plastics.
  • Easy to manage and install, PVC-U is a lightweight and durable material.
  • No painting or repainting is needed, ensuring a reduced use of chemicals.
  • No requirement for chemical treatments as PVC-U is tough and resistant to weather and corrosion.
  • PVC-U has a long life cycle and less energy is required to produce it compared with other materials such as wood.
  • A cost-effective and sustainable choice by comparison with steel, copper and aluminium.

MANUFACTURE
The manufacture of PVC-U does not require the use of plasticisers

 

PHTHALATES

 

 

A group of chemicals designed to plasticize products i.e. make them softer and more flexible - bottles, blood bags, medical tubing, electrical cables.

 

 

FACT: Phthalates are NOT included in the manufacture of PVC-U (rigid) products.

 

 

CADMIUM

 

 

The EC ruled that the use of cadmium based stabilisers and pigments were prohibited after 2001.

 

 

FACT: Marshall-Tufflex has not used cadmium-based stabilisers or pigments since 1999.

 

 

LEAD

 

 

The European vinyl industry has committed to the EC to completely phase out the use of lead stabilisers and pigments by 2015.

 

 

FACT: Marshall-Tufflex’s virgin mouldings and extrusions are all lead-free formulations*

 

*Please note that where possible we endeavour to use recycled PVC-U. It is possible that traces of lead could be contained within these recycled materials. 


RECYCLABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
A cost-effective, sustainable choice and comparable with other materials such as steel, copper, aluminium and wood.

  • Current research shows that PVC-U is expected to have a life cycle of approximately 30-40 years.
  • PVC-U has excellent weathering resistance and no painting or re-painting is required.
  • The Vinyl Plus initiative targets that by 2020 800,000 tonnes per annum of PVC will be recycled. 
  • The mechanical properties of re-chip are as good as and often better than virgin material.

WASTE MANAGEMENT
Monitored tests throughout Europe have been carried out at Municipal Solid Waste incineration plants. In all trials, no correlation was found between PVC content and dioxin emissions.

  • Studies in the UK, USA and Germany show that dioxin emissions have fallen by over 50% since 1970, despite PVC production having more than doubled in these countries during the same period.
  • Approximately 10-6% of the chlorine from PVC in waste is converted into dioxins i.e. 0.000001%!
  • Total UK PVC industry output of dioxins is less than around 140mg per annum.
  • The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has concluded that the disposal of PVC-U via landfill causes no environmental concern. (RICS RESEARCH FOUNDATION COBRA 1999)

DIOXINS

It is seriously misleading to
focus on PVC materials as a major source of dioxins in the environment.

FACT: Dioxins can be formed when any organic material containing even trace elements of chlorine compounds are burnt. Bush fires, wood burning stoves, general domestic heating, cigarette smoking, cremation and car exhausts and deforestations are major sources of dioxins.

FIRE PERFORMANCE
Independent research commissioned by BEAMA in 2006/7 has resulted in a positive report for PVC-U.

  • PVC-U does little to contribute to the spread of a fire. It is inherently flame retardant, has a low heat of combustion and a low burning rate.
  • PVC-U contributes less to heat release and fire propagation than many other materials.
  • PVC-U used for the manufacture of cable management systems is flame retardant to BS 476 Part 7 Class 1.
    (BEAMA Report - www.beama.org.uk)

REACH REGULATIONS Download a copy of our REACH statement here

 Marshall-Tufflex Ltd complies with the requirements of the REACH regulations. 

 
 
This places us with a duty under Article 33 to communicate information on substances in articles > 0.1% by weight should these substances be present in our products.
 
In line with government targets and PVC industry led initiatives the use of recycled material is encouraged and most convertors seek out suitable supplies of recycled material to meet the government targets, support the industry initiative and offer value to customers. Defra comment that “there are very substantial environmental benefits in terms of carbon impact from using recycled as compared to virgin PVC.”

The recycled materials derive from either process scrap from a pre consumer activity or from post consumer recovered material, particularly replaced PVC windows. There is a possibility that these recyclates may include lead salts, specifically fatty acids, C16-18 lead salts. However Defra comment that “this duty is intended to be much lighter than the duty on substance suppliers because it is recognised that Substances of Very High Concern within articles generally present a much lower risk.”

However, lead based stabilisers used within PVC formulations are immobilized in the plastic matrix in much the same way as they are within traditional glass products made from lead crystal and lead compounds will not be released during the service life of the articles.
 
A quote from an official Swedish test institute conducted tests to see how lead migration from PVC pipe would compare to the limits set down in the EU Ceramics Directive (which covers migration limits for food contact ceramics). Their results showed that it is just as safe to eat meals off a lead stabilised PVC pipe as it is to eat them off a ceramic plate. Please visit  http://www.bpf.co.uk/Windows/Enviromental_Matters/The_constituents_of_PVCU_windows.aspx
 
Additional information can be found on the Sustainability section of www.pvc.org/en.


MARSHALL-TUFFLEX AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Marshall-Tufflex is pro-active in its aspirations to embrace an environmentally-friendly approach:

  • We have already met and exceeded many of the interim Vinyl Plus regulations requirements.
  • A Carbon Trust Assessment instigated by the Company in 2006 received a first class report.
  • We have achieved ISO14001 standard for Environmental Management.
  • Paper, cardboard, polythene, wood, metal and print cartridges are all sent for recycling.
  • Company policy demands that we are always looking for other recycling opportunities.
  • Installation of Passive Infra Red (PIR) lighting sensors with timers help minimise the use of artificial light when not required.


MARSHALL-TUFFLEX STATEMENT ON ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES
Marshall-Tufflex is fully committed to carrying out its responsibilities to Vinyl Plus. The Company has been recycling PVC-U products for many years, with a well proven performance history, and actively pursues a comprehensive programme to develop material formulations based on environmentally acceptable materials, whilst still maintaining and, where possible, improving on long-term performance properties.

Jim Fletcher - Managing Director

 

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