Why PVC pipes?

PVC pipes:
safe, durable,
sustainable and recyclable

PVC pipes are used in a wide variety of piping applications, from transportation of drinking water over drainage solutions to advanced fire-sprinkler systems. This popularity owes to a unique combination of properties: safety, durability/cost-efficiency, environmental performance and recyclability.

PVC pipes are safe

PVC pipes are a safe choice for transportation of drinking water. This is due to their high degree of inertness and resistance to corrosion. PVC pipes are therefore free from bio-film contamination that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. By helping provide clean water, PVC pipes are beneficial to public health.

Through the VinylPlus® framework, the European PVC and piping industry has made a targeted effort to substitute unwanted substances. As a result, replacement of lead-based stabilizers in virgin PVC coumpounds was completed in 2015. Because it is used below its glass transition temperature (80°C), PVC can be considered as a functional barrier preventing any low molecular weight substances to migrate to drinking water. Migration tests have demonstrated migration levels far below the detection limit of the most modern analytical techniques.

PVC pipes are durable & cost-efficient

The first PVC piping systems were installed over 80 years and most of these are still in use. The expected lifespan of a PVC pipe is 100 years or more for underground pipes. Moreover, PVC piping systems show a much lower failure rate than other materials. In comparison with other piping materials, PVC pipes are also the most cost-efficient choice when viewed other their entire lifetime. This includes the costs to purchase pipes, install, operate and maintain and dismantle the pipeline. +100-year durability and low total cost of ownership means utilities can safely choose PVC for their piping infrastructure.
pvc water main break rates
Total Cost of Ownership: PVC-U vs. other pipe materials

PVC pipes are
the best choice
for the environment

PVC pipes have clear environmental advantages over traditional materials. As PVC is a low carbon plastic, PVC pipes require less energy and fewer resources to manufacture. Due to their low weight, less energy is used when transported. PVC pipes last long with a minimum of maintenance and they are easily recyclable. Many new PVC pipes contain recyclates. For instance three-layer pipes where the core layer is made of recycled PVC. Moreover, the ultra-smooth surface of PVC pipes reduces pumping costs and energy use, and their leak-free fittings eliminate water loss. This is good for both the environment and the utility bill.

PVC pipes are recyclable

PVC pipes are easily recyclable and can be recycled several times without losing their technical properties. Each year around 80,000 tonnes of PVC pipes are recycled in Europe through the VinylPlus® programme. This recyclate is used to manufacture new pipes and a range of other PVC products. Traceability and certification schemes for recyclates ensure a high degree of safety and quality for the recycled PVC.

PVC recycling creates jobs and saves energy and resources

Using recycled PVC helps meet resource-efficiency targets and allows the preservation of natural resources. For each kg of PVC recycled, 2 kg of CO2 are saved. On this basis, CO2 savings from PVC recycling in Europe is now at more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 saved per year. Further, recycled PVC’s primary energy demand is up to 90% lower than virgin PVC production. PVC recycling also creates green jobs – the 770,000 tonnes of PVC recycled in Europe in 2019 through VinylPlus® contributed to the creation of more than 1,500 direct jobs in recycling plants.

European PVC recycling in 2019 contributed to: