Global warming and PVC|TOPICS|Vinyl Environmental Council (VEC)


Global warming and PVC

February 17, 2021

  • Recently, each country has set a challenging goal of "making global warming gas emission virtually zero by 2050," and all industries are tackling this issue. On December 25, 2020, Japan compiled its Green Growth Strategy, an action plan aimed at achieving this goal, and presented targets for each field, such as "100% of electric vehicles sold by the mid-2030s" and "zero greenhouse gas emissions of new houses by 2030."
  • Since its inception in 1998, Vinyl Environmental Council, VEC, has been working on the contribution of PVC to the global environment as an important issue. This section introduces the efforts of the PVC industry and the results of previous research.

(1)Contribution to Global Warming Prevention through PVC Products

① Long life: The main applications of PVC are pipes, fittings and building materials, and many products have a longer life compared with other plastic products.

② Thermal insulation: PVC window frames, one of the final products in which PVC is used, are effective in energy saving because of their excellent thermal insulation property, and contribute to the control of greenhouse gas emissions.

③ Low CO2 emissions during production: PVC pipes and PVC agricultural products emit less CO2 during production compared to other materials.
Thus, PVC products contribute to curbing global warming gas emissions.

(2)Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when manufacturing PVC resin and products (compared with other materials)

① Comparison with other plastics: Industrial salt accounts for approximately 60% of the raw material for PVC, which is less dependent on fossil fuels such as petroleum than other plastics, and thus CO2 emission is low.

② Comparison with other materials: PVC requires less energy during production than products made of other materials, such as iron or glass, for the same use (e.g. iron pipes, glass agricultural houses).

③ Utilization of in-house power generation: Chlorine, which is one of the main raw materials of PVC, is produced by electrolysis of industrial salt. Currently, in the PVC industry in Japan, electricity used for electrolysis is obtained by in-house power generation with higher overall energy efficiency than that of conventional coal-fired power generation by utilizing steam.

(3)Reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the disposal and recycle of PVC products

① The material recycling (MR) ratio of PVC is about 33%, which is higher than that of other plastics.

② The PVC industry is actively promoting the construction of MR systems of PVC windows, in addition to conventional MR systems such as those of pipes and agricultural PVC film.

③ In order to contribute to chemical recycling (CR) of the whole waste plastics, VEC is actively engaged in exploration of separation technology of chlorine and so on.

・As described above, PVC is a material that contributes to the control of global warming from a comprehensive perspective. VEC will continue to promote efforts to reduce global warming and will endeavor to gain a proper understanding of the characteristics of PVC. As one of the concrete initiatives, we will contribute to the achievement of government’s goal such as "Average zero greenhouse gas emissions of new housing by 2030."