Three critical environmental benefits of switching uPVC to Polypropylene

There are significant intrinsic differences between precision plastic moulding using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polypropylene (PP). 

1st July 2016

Polypropylene is one of the most neutral plastics, containing only two elements: carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). PVC by comparison contains about 30% by weight of the element Chlorine (Cl) in its basic structure. It is well documented that chlorine, like all halogens, is a dangerous substance in the environment.

1 – Polypropylene v uPVC in the event of fire and heat

Polypropylene is much more tolerant to heat –  even under extreme conditions it will only generate carbon dioxide and water.

uPVC is intrinsically heat unstable – and if burnt produces toxic by- products such as dioxins, chlorocarbons and hydrochloric acid.

2 – Polypropylene v uPVC in relation to recycling

Polypropylene is 100% recyclable – because polypropylene doesn’t have lead or any other heavy metals in the manufacturing process.

uPVC is not recyclable to the same extent –  firstly because of its intrinsic chemical composition and also because of the additives it contains. uPVC is inherently dangerous in its basic form, and it also needs a large amount of lead to stabilise it. Lead is highly toxic both during the life cycle of a product and after its disposal.

3 –  Polypropylene v uPVC – greenhouse gases and toxicity

Polypropylene helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – because it’s manufactured from propylene monomer, a relatively safe gas, which is a waste by-product of the petroleum industry. It used to be burned off into the atmosphere contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. As a consequence, the more polypropylene used in products helps in these gas emissions.

uPVC is very toxic – because the monomer unit which forms its building blocks is very toxic. Stringent guidelines are in place for its proper handling as it is highly dangerous to transport and store. There have been numerous studies of the negative health effects on workers exposed to uPVC monomer.

Which adds up to Polypropylene being better for costs and the environment

It’s clear that polypropylene is a safer, non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative to the obsolescent technologies that gave us plastics such as uPVC. Given the cost benefits and other manufacturing advantages, isn’t it time you thought about making the switch?

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