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PVC Pipe part of a sustainable future

Many people forget that PVC pipe and conduit has been around since 1960 in Australia. The origins of Vinidex and Iplex also date back to the early 60’s. Electrical conduits, then sewer pipes were made using PVC followed in the mid 60’s by pressure pipe. The regional infrastructure projects of Victoria and NSW were the first to take advantage of this great new pipe system. The gas industry also used PVC in WA, Victoria and NSW.

There was spectacular growth in PVC in the 70’s led by the household drainage and sewer applications. By the mid 70’s PVC was accepted for pressure water infrastructure and so began the rise to prominence of PVC in this application.coefficientoffriction

 Major product developments and manufacturing advances have been a consistent aspect of PVC pipe. The material efficient non pressure products like structured wall and foam core pipe have been matched by the equally impressive advances from PVCU to PVCM and now PVCO in pressure pipe.

The prominence of PVC in the building sector and the importance of sustainability to this application has seen considerable effort go into demonstrating the credentials of PVC. Our work with the Green Building Council (GBCA) and in particular the use of life cycle analysis (LCA) has been key in showing that PVC is one of the most sustainable pipe options for DWV and pressure pipe. Recent work by The European Plastics Pipe and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) has further confirmed that PVC is one of the most sustainable infrastructure pipe systems compared to all the common alternatives.

There is a continuing need to dispel the legacy of past criticisms of PVC pipe mostly based on misinformation. We in the industry have a responsibility to correct these misconceptions and the following are some important points to keep in mind when talking about todays PVC pipe:

– It is completely recyclable
– There are no plasticisers in PVC pipe
– There are no heavy metal stabilisers
– Material efficient pipe systems like foam core, structured wall and PVCO offer some of the most sustainable pipe options available – proven by independent LCA studies here and in Europe and recognised by major stakeholders like the GBCA. Reference can be made to the GBCA website for access to fully independent reports.
– Long service life –PVC pipe products have been used since the 60’s, they are still in service and will outlive the buildings they are in.
– PVC watermains are the best performing pressure pipes for this application in Australia, Canada and the US.
– Best Environmental Practice PVC (BEP PVC) provides the framework to demonstrate every aspect of the PVC pipe life cycle has been optimised in the manufacture of PVC pipe.

So in short we have a great product in PVC pipe with a long history, excellent performance record and now demonstrated excellent sustainability credentials.

Article with thanks to Pipelne newsletter by PIPA, March 2013 Issue 2

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