These facts sheets are direct and informative, explaining things from environmental elements of vinyl and vinyl manufacturing and product sector specific benefits and features.
The Vinyl Industry Contributes Importantly to the U.S. Economy
- $54.5 billion a year in economic value to states and communities.
- $230 million a year in federal taxes from basic material production alone.
- More than 350,000 American manufacturing jobs in more than 2,900 facilities across the country.
- Exports of some $5 billion in 2012, estimated to grow more than 30 percent by 2017 as a result of low-cost U.S. shale gas used as both a raw material and production fuel.
- Projected U.S. growth of 4 percent annually
Vinyl Has Proven Itself Safe and Vitally Important for 50 Years
- PVC pipe delivers safe, clean drinking water and removes sanitary wastes, providing a non-corrosive alternativeto traditional pipe materials that leak and break, wasting an estimated 2.6 trillion gallons of water each year.
- Vinyl-framed windows and reective roong membranes are the most energy ecient for the price, helping home and building owners save on heating and cooling costs.
- Tough, easily cleaned vinyl ooring and wall covering help reduce the spread of pathogens in hospitals and enhance home and oce decors at an aordable price.
- Vinyl siding, fencing, decking and railing make homes more weather resistant. New insulation-backed siding adds energy eciency.
- Blood lasts longer in vinyl blood bags. Vinyl medical tubing resists kinking and if constricted tends to return toits original diameter and shape. Permeable, colorful vinyl enhances food packaging
- 2,941 vinyl production facilities in the US
- 350,000 employees
- $54.5 billion in economic value
- 15 billion pounds of vinyl resin produced in the US annually
- 10 billion pounds sold domestically, 5 billion pounds exported
- Feedstocks in the US are salt and natural gas
- 70% goes to the building and construction markets
- 1 billion pounds of vinyl recycled annually in the US (90% post-industrial, 10% post-consumer)
- Over 100 vinyl recyclers in the US and Canada
- 7 billion pounds moved to municipal solid waste streams (3% of plastics)
- Vinyl chloride emissions declined by 83% per unit since 1987
- PVC production increased 82% since 1987
- Chlor-vinyl manufacturing dioxin emissions decreased 86% since 2000
- The vinyl industry injury rate is 1/4 the rate of the chemical industry, and 1/7 the rate of the overall manufacturing industry
Vinyl does not harm the atmosphere. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it was in salt. When vinyl is recycled, landfilled, or disposed of in a modern incinerator, chlorine gas is not released into the atmosphere.
Vinyl production is an extremely small source of dioxin, so small that levels in the environment would be essentially unchanged even if vinyl were not being manufactured and used every day in important products. The vinyl industry has studied and worked to reduce its contribution to dioxin. In fact, vinyl manufacturing created on the order of six to seven grams of dioxin per year –o or 100 grains of salt. Other dioxin sources include forest fires, volcanoes, burning wood in fireplaces, exhaust from diesel-powered vehicles, and manufacture of other building materials. Overall, dioxin levels in the environment have been declining for decades, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During this time, Production and use of vinyl have more than tripled.
According to the EPA:
- Dioxin emissions from industrial sources in the United States have decreased by more than 90% since 1987
- Vinyl’s dioxin emissions are a tiny fraction of the overall total
Hydrogen Chloride (HCI)
HCI is a by-product of burning vinyl, but it does not incapacitate of become dangerous until it reached concentrations far higher than those that have been measured in actual fires. In real fires, HCI air concentration declines rapidly as it adheres to surfaces. Because it is an irritant with a pungent odor, HCI can serve as a warning to evacuate. Since the 1970s, fire incidence and deaths have declined steadily.
Vinyl can be safely incinerated and its energy recaptured and reused. A large-scale study by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers found no link between the chlorine content of waste-like vinyl and dioxin emissions from controlled combustion processes. Instead, the study stated, the operating conditions of combustors are the critical factor in dioxin generation. Other scientific studies confirmed this conclusion.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Vinyl products are able to meet low volatile organic compounds (VOC) requirements in standards such as FloorScore®, Green Label Plus, and GREENGUARD.
IAQ can be affected by biological factors, as well. In hot and humid climates, impermeable wall coverings can cause condensation to occur inside the walls. Manufacturers have addressed this issue with innovations such as mildew-resistant or “microvented” products that allow moisture to circulate.
- By discouraging moisture and resulting microbial growth, vinyl flooring products and vinyl-backed carpet are some of the vinyl products that contribute to IAQ
- Vast networks of aging underground iron and cement pipes are nearing or past their useful lives
- 7 billion gallons of water are leading out of aging iron and cement pipes each year
- American Society of Civil Engineers’ gave the nation’s water infrastructure a “D+” grade, reveals that there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the U.S.
- U.S. cities with the worst leakage problems between 2000 and 2010: Atlanta came up on top, with 31.4% of water lost, followed by Cleveland at 28.7%, Philadelphia at 26.5%, Pittsburgh at 26%, Detroit at 15.9% and New York City at 14.2%.
- AWWA reports: “Restoring existing water systems as they reach the end of their useful lives and expanding them to serve a growing population will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years.”
- PVC piping is one of the world’s most sustainable products, making it ideal for long-term term use in underground infrastructure.
- It requires less energy and fewer resources to manufacture than old-technology materials, and its production creates virtually no waste.
- It is produced with sustainable and abundant resources: chlorine, which is derived from salt, and domestically produced natural gas.
- A study by Utah State University’s Buried Structures Laboratory supports a PVC pipe design life of 100+ years or greater.
- Municipalities using PVC piping have experiWater enced life cycle costs at 30 to 70% less than those of metallic pipe.
- PVC’s corrosion resistance also helps reduce water main breaks.
- Utah State University’s Buried Structures Laboratory found PVC pipes have the lowest break rates compared to other pipe materials
- The European Plastic Pipes and Fitting Association found PVC sewer pipe could be installed 30% faster than conventional pipes.
For more information on PVC pipes, including a PVC pipe EPD and other studies and reports, visit www.uni-bell.org, or download their PVC pipe standards app—found in both the App Store and
- Resilient flooring is designed to be easy on the environment.
- Products include sustainable features such as recycled content.
- They contribute to good indoor air quality and last a long time, making it unnecessary to replace them.
- Resilient flooring holds up incredibly well under most trying conditions, looking great for years with little maintenance.
- With easier maintenance and a longer lifecycle, resilient flooring means a lower cost of ownership throughout the life of the oor.
- Resilient flooring works well in all kinds of commercial and residential spaces.
- The flooring products are not only easier to keep clean, but are also tested for slip-resistance and designed for better indoor air quality.
- Resilient flooring provides unexpected versatility, cost savings, durability, safety, sustainability, and style.
- There are hundreds of different resilient flooring materials that bear the FloorScore label—the first indoor airquality testing program focused exclusively on hard surface flooring.
- Many resilient flooring products meet NSF 332, a stringent sustainability standard developed by NSF International, an independent sustainability developer.
- The vinyl polymer’s composition gives this material an inherent re resistance not found in alternative materials without additives.
- Vinyl roofing membranes have been used successfully in waterproofing applications for more than 30 years.
- The heat-welded seams of thermoplastic vinyl form a permanent, watertight bond that is stronger than the roofing membrane itself. This is a major advantage over roofing systems that rely on adhesives, tapes, and caulks to seal the seams.
- Properly designed vinyl roofing systems provide durability and can meet or exceed the wind uplift requirements needed to obtain FM approvals -- many in-service membranes have survived the onslaught of Category 3 hurricanes, and can be designed specically for storm-prone climates.
- A white vinyl roof can reect 80 percent or more of the sun’s rays and emit at least 70 percent of the solar radiation that the building absorbs, making it the more sustainable roong option.
- In full sun, the surface of a black low-slope roof may experience a temperature rise of as much as 50 to 90 degrees, reaching midday temperatures of 150 to 190 degrees in summer. A white vinyl roof on the same building typically increases only 10 to 25 degrees above ambient temperatures, lowering surrounding air temperature and reducing smog formation.
- Vinyl is the only commercial, sustainable roong material that is being recycled at the end of decades of service life into the feedstock to make new membranes.
- Vinyl roong membranes have a long service life that is second to none. Many vinyl roof systems have been in service in excess of 25 years.
- When compared to other roong materials, less energy is needed to produce the raw material vinyl and process it into the end product. Most alternatives have far more embodied energy.
- 57 percent of vinyl resin is derived from salt. Less oil is consumed to produce vinyl than in the production of base materials for any other single-ply roong membrane.
- Vinyl membranes are typically available in white, beige, or gray. However, adding pigments to vinyl resin during formulation can create membranes in a wide spectrum of hues.
- Complex roof lines and curvatures or multiple roof penetrations all can be accommodated by vinyl’s inherent exibility and strength.
- Some green roofs have lasted more than 40 years without being replaced, bringing aesthetic, ecological and social benets to modern buildings in urban areas.
- Vinyl roong is often used in the waterproong layer of these planted roofs; the permanent hot-air welded seams do not deteriorate in the perpetually moist environment of a green roof, and it is highly eective at preventing water and root penetration.
For more information, including a vinyl roong EPD, visit www.vinylroofs.org.
- Vinyl siding withstands winds of 110 mph (and most achieve a wind rating higher than that), and resists the weathering eects of heat, cold, and moisture.
- Vinyl siding manufacturers generally oer a lifetime warranty for the original home owner and typically carry a prorated warranty of at least 50 years to subsequent owners.
- Insulated siding is included in the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code among the materials that can be used as continuous insulation outside of the building framing to provide the required total wall R-value for buildings in the coldest climate zones.
- Unlike other exterior cladding, vinyl siding only requires simple, periodic cleaning with mild soap and water from a garden hose. There are no worries about rotting, splitting, or insect damage. Plus, it never needs repainting, caulking, or re-pointing.
- Vinyl siding and insulated siding demonstrate remarkably better environmental performance than other exterior cladding according to a Life Cycle Assessment.
- Vinyl siding, including insulated vinyl siding, is the only exterior cladding with a product certication program administered by an independent, accredited quality control agency that ensures products and colors meet or exceed industry standards; and a certied installer program with validation by an independent, third-party administrator to ensure that installers demonstrate knowledge of industry-accepted application techniques.
- More than 98 percent of vinyl siding manufactured in the United States each year – covering more than 800 products and more than 400 colors – is certied through the VSI Product Certication Program.
For more information on vinyl siding, visit www.vinylsiding.org.
- Vinyl wallcovering is non-toxic and has been used for decades. (EPA, NFPA, ANSI)
- Wallcoverings today meet stringent standards, are non-toxic, and most meet all low VOC requirements.
- Today, most wallcoverings are manufactured using no heavy metals such as lead, mercury, chromium or cadmium that could adversely aect the environment.
- Many manufacturers are introducing and developing additional environmentally-friendly substrates in the manufacture of wallcoverings.
- Wallcoverings are tested before they are put on the market for ame spread and smoke levels in case of fire.
- Wallcoverings on the market meet regulated standards, with many wallcoverings exhibiting extremely low flame spread and smoke development ratings.
It’s cost effective.
- Vinyl wallcovering has a lifecycle that is much longer than paint with a 5-10 year average.
- Vinyl wallcovering saves money on maintenance cost compared to paint.
- Vinyl wallcovering protects the wall surfaces from nicks and dings (damages.)
- Over 50% of PVC polymer is salt, a natural resource.
- The manufacturing of vinyl wallcovering is more energy ecient than other plastics and papers.
- Vinyl wallcovering is recyclable, saving materials from landlls.
- The vinyl industry has recently established a multi-attribute sustainability standard.
For more information vinyl wallcovering, visit www.wallcovering.org. Check out their resources section for everything you need to know about wallcoverings and their CEU “The Wall Covered Wall,” an accredited course on features and benets of wallcovering as well as the basic construction of various wallcoverings and answers to common questions.