PVC is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. The main problem with PVC recycling is the high chlorine content in raw PVC and the high proportion of harmful additives added to the polymer to achieve the desired material quality. Therefore, PVC must be separated from other plastics before being recycled.
PVC products have an average lifespan of 30 years, some even 50 years or more. This means more PVC products reach the end of their life and end up in the waste stream, and the numbers are likely to increase significantly in the near future.
PVC Recycling Methods:
Currently, PVC plastic is recycled in two ways:
This polyvinyl chloride reprocessing method involves mechanically treating waste such as grinding to break it down into tinier shreds. The resulting granules, referred to as recycled, can be melted down and repackaged into a different product, usually the same product from which it came.
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Raw Material Recycling:
Chemical processes such as hydrolysis, pyrolysis, and heating are utilized to transform waste into chemical components. The resulting products such as calcium chloride, sodium chloride, hydrocarbon products, and heavy metals are just a few names that are used to produce new PVC.
Since no chemical reactions take place in mechanical recycling, recycling retains its original composition. This is a challenge for recycling because PVC products contain different additives depending on the application.
Rigid PVC contains plasticizers, whereas plasticizers are added to soft PVC, as these additives increase the flowability of the plastic and thus its flexibility. Even products used for the same application may differ in composition if they come from different manufacturers.