Vinyl Fact + Fiction
The Facts About Today’s Vinyl
Vinyl is composed of ingredients from nature: chlorine (based on common salt) and ethylene (from natural gas). By employing further chemistry, vinyl can be made clear or colourful, thick or thin, flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid. Part of the beauty of affordable, energy-efficient and versatile vinyl is that it can last a lifetime. With long life cycles and natural fire resistance, vinyl is highly sustainable. No wonder vinyl is a major component in residential and commercial construction, wires and cables, consumer items and healthcare products.
Another key benefit of vinyl windows is their ability to resist condensation (minimizing the presence of mold and mildew). Condensation appears when airborne moisture settles on cold surfaces (like glass). Since vinyl has low conductivity, the interior surface of vinyl windows remains relatively close to room temperature and, therefore, less susceptible to condensation. In extreme cases, condensation from non-vinyl window materials can produce frost or ice build-up on the interior of a window.
Myths and Truths About Vinyl
1. Vinyl cannot be recycled – FALSE!
Because vinyl is thermoplastic, vinyl products can be repeatedly melted and remoulded. Vinyl waste, trim and off-spec material (recycled from the vinyl production process) can add up to more than 1 billion pounds per year. This means that 99% of all manufactured vinyl is fabricated into finished products and avoiding landfills (according to the 1999 Principia Partners study, Post-Industrial and Post-Consumer Vinyl Reclaim) . In fact, post-industrial vinyl recycling has proven so viable that its price is indexed in leading plastic industry publications.
2. Vinyl is a major source of dioxin – FALSE!
Dioxin is an unwanted by-product of incineration, uncontrolled burning and certain industrial processes. Through regulation and voluntary efforts, releases of dioxin into the environment have been dramatically reduced.
Vinyl is an extremely small source of dioxin. So small, in fact, that levels in the environment would be essentially unchanged even if vinyl were not being manufactured and used in important everyday products. The vinyl industry has studied and worked diligently to reduce its contribution to dioxin.
In fact, according to the latest data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), vinyl manufacturing creates only grams of dioxin per year (which equates to less than one-half of one percent of all dioxins generated annually)!
3. Vinyl contributes to the danger of building fires – FALSE!
Fire science shows that the greatest hazards in a building fire are heat and carbon monoxide (CO) – a lethal, odorless gas produced in abundance by virtually all burning materials. If any hydrogen chloride (HCL) – an irritant gas with a pungent odor – is released, it can serve as a fire warning.
Because the vinyl polymer is made from 57% common salt (a plentiful natural resource which, by its nature, resists combustion), it can help slow down fires and save lives! Vinyl is one of the few materials meeting the stringent National Electrical Code of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for insulating electrical and data transmission cables and airplane interiors.
Vinyl: Sustaining Life…for Generations
Versatile, energy-efficient vinyl provides a vital role in sustaining the environment. Products made from vinyl can (and will) last for generations and contribute to sustainable green building standards. As technology advances, vinyl will continue to evolve as a part of life.