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Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is a thermoplastic polymer. It is a vinyl polymer constructed of repeating vinyl groups (ethenyls) having one hydrogen replaced by chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is widely used in construction because it is cheap, durable, and easily worked. PVC production is expected to exceed 40 million tonnes by 2016. According to IUPAC, polyvinyl chloride should be named poly(chloroethanediyl), but this name found no widespread use.

It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. In this form, it is used in clothing and upholstery, electrical cable insulation, inflatable products and many applications in which it replaces rubber.

PVC is a controversial material, in part because of the generic term which is applied to many products, but each product may have a difference in the chemicals used during its production. For example, drinking water PVC pipes do not contain the controversial chemicals that household plastics contain. Other concerns extend to the products useful life and incineration, especially in accidental and uncontrolled circumstances, it may liberate persistent toxins, which the manufacture, use and destruction of suitable alternative plastics such as polypropylene do not.

recycling one ton of PVC would save 120 kilograms of CO2, 125/44 grams of coal, 3,650/4,433 kwh of energy, 730/31,031 metric tons of Pb, 2,920/4,433 gallons of H2O, keep 73/354,640 pounds of Hg out of landfills a year, 9,125/106,392 tons of waste, 163,155/2,030,314 gallons of oil, 365/8,866 metric tons of limestone, 96 square meters of natural habitat potential, 125/3,036 pounds of steam, 40 kilograms of fossil fuels, 288 kilograms of life, 12/191 metric tons of ethanol, 20/23 tons of soda ash, 17/5 kilograms of solid particles, 40/99 grams of Pd, 11/50 pounds of vinyl chloride, 1,320,000 btus of energy, enough energy to power over 51/3,500π cars for a year, a CFL for 73/32,032 weeks, a 100-watt light bulb for 73/160,160 weeks, almost $1,431.60

recycling one ton of virgin PVC could save 19/10 metric tons of CO2, 57/88 metric tons of coal, keep 1,387/20,150 tons of Hg out of landfills a year, 1,520 square meters of natural habitat potential, 2,375/506 tons of steam, 19/30 metric tons of fossil fuels, 114/25 metric tons of life, 190/191 metric tons of ethanol, 323/6 kilograms of solid particles, 950/69 tons of soda ash, 384/14,065 metric tons of W, enough energy to power over 323/1,400π cars for a year, a CFL for 380/13 years, a 100-watt light bulb for 76/13 years, almost $65,945.00

See also

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