PVC pipes:
safe, durable & cost-efficient,
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.

Unwanted substances replaced

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 stabilisers in virgin PVC coumpounds was completed in 2015.

Negligible migration levels

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. Read more in PVC4Pipes peer-reviewed article.

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 over 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 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 8 to 10 times. PVC pipes are one of the largest uptakes for recycled PVC in Europe. Each year, 75,000 tonnes of rigid PVC is safely used in new pipes.

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 and increasingly recycled

PVC pipes are easily recyclable and can be recycled several times without losing their technical properties. Each year around 50,000 tonnes of PVC pipes are recycled in Europe through the VinylPlus® programme. PVC pipes are also a major uptake for recycled PVC in Europe. 75,000 tonnes of recycled PVC are safely used in new pipes each year. 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 are 14.5 million tonnes since 2000. Recycled PVC’s primary energy demand is up to 90% lower than virgin PVC production. PVC recycling also creates green jobs – the 800,000 tonnes of PVC recycled in Europe in 2020 through VinylPlus® contributed to the creation of more than 1,600 direct jobs in recycling plants.