A recent Greenpeace report ranking retailers on their policies regarding the use of plastics makes a number of inaccurate and misleading references to PVC (polyvinyl chloride). We’ll correct them here:
“Retailers should prioritize eliminating the most problematic and unnecessary plastics that are harmful to human health; that regularly enter the environment; that are not recyclable, or often end up in landfills or incinerators despite recyclability claims; and that have existing alternatives. Problematic and unnecessary plastics include, but are not limited to, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) [...]”
PVC is not harmful to human health;
Nearly 70 percent of the PVC resin produced in the U.S. goes into durable applications in use for more than 25 years;
According to the EPA, only 0.8 percent of all landfilled material is PVC;
In many applications, there are no proven or viable alternatives to PVC.
PVC has been safely used in thousands of commercial and consumer products for over half a century. There is no scientific evidence showing PVC to be “harmful to human health” when used for its intended purpose. In fact, PVC provides enormous human benefits by replacing glass and other materials that can shatter or cause potential harm. It also offers better sanitary alternatives in applications such as food packaging.
More vinyl is recycled in the U.S. and Canada every year than exists in all of the landfills in both countries. Since 2014, there has been a 40 percent increase in post-consumer vinyl recycling. Even more impressive, of all the plastics in landfills, vinyl makes up less than 3 percent -- and only 0.8 percent of all landfilled material is PVC. That’s because vinyl products are built to last, as the vast majority of PVC that’s ever been produced is still in service today (PVC pipe can last more than 100 years).
We will always push ourselves to do more. That’s why we just announced a new industry-wide sustainability initiative called Vantage Vinyl with the goal of further improving the sustainability of vinyl products.
Greenpeace’s claims against PVC are nothing new -- the group has been ideologically opposed to PVC for decades, evidenced by its long track record of spreading disinformation about our industry. Those who spend the time to learn the facts are well aware that Greenpeace’s claims about PVC have little credibility.
As long as groups like Greenpeace perpetuate inaccurate narratives about PVC in the public discourse, we’ll continue to hold them accountable by setting the record straight.