Plastics pose a conundrum in modern methods of production.
There is a growing movement to minimise and eliminate plastics due to the damage being caused in their build up in the natural environment, both in manufactured form and the microplastic remnants of broken down materials.
This is played out in the media through great broadcasters like David Attenborough who have drawn attention to the plight of the world’s natural environment.
When the environmental concerns surrounding PVC can be understood, managed and mitigated, its use as a component in manufacturing and result in materials which demonstrate multiple benefits over traditional materials
Whilst the drive to reduce plastics in society is hugely important there is another aspect to consider.
Vinyl Plus – a group comprising the 27 EU nations, the UK and others have driven massive changes in PVC recycling. The issue surrounding PVC is not so much it’s use rather than it’s inability to biodegrade buy what if this plastic waste could be used to produce something useful to society?
For example, the creation of building materials made of plastic waste. Plastics are strong, durable, waterproof, lightweight, easy to mould, and recyclable – all key properties for construction materials. The existing initiatives are promising, so perhaps plastics will cease to be the problem and instead become a pathway towards a more sustainable way of living.
Blanket treatment of “plastics” as one category is a growing problem. The same is also true within the PVC family. We need to learn to distinguish between materials based on their different life cycle footprints, formulations, applications and the value they provide.
When lifespan and structural strength are considered, a traditional doorset could potentially be replaced 3-4 times over the lifespan of a PVC encapsulated door. When we consider raw materials, treatments, manufacturing energy requirements the environmental impact of traditional materials and methods are perhaps not so clear cut as one might expect.
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"Specified solid timber doors with full PVC encapsulation are one of the most robust doors on the market and copes well to the challenging school environment."