PVC Vinyl has been a highly versatile material for signage. It has been instrumental in creating some stunning signs in the past, and its ability to be printed, cut and stretched has fuelled the imagination of many sign designers.
But with our attention being increasingly drawn to minimising our impact on the planet, the use of vinyl in retail signage has fallen under the spotlight. And the results are not good.
So what has gone wrong for PVC vinyl – and what’s the alternatives? First, let’s take a look at PVC vinyl and why retailers are increasingly against allowing it to be used on their signs.
What is PV Vinyl?
Polyvinyl Chloride, or as we all know it PVC vinyl, has been a popular material for use in signage for many years. Vinyl is strong, resistant to oil and chemicals, sunlight, weathering and flame resistant. PVC vinyl uses less oil in the manufacturing process (the main ingredient is chloride) than other plastics; And as tens of thousands of tons of vinyl is produced each year, it’s abundant and affordable too.
The drawbacks in using PVC vinyl
As PVC vinyls are tough and durable, they are not environmentally friendly. Old vinyl doesn’t degrade but simply breaks down into smaller pieces, making them a threat to wildlife. Along with oil and chloride, vinyls also contain phthalates which are known to cause cancer and damage to the kidneys.
PVC vinyls are also very difficult to recycle. The presence of the material is often unwelcome to recyclers as it can contain so many chemicals. Including chlorine and phthalates there may even be heavy metals present.
As you can see. PVC vinyls can pose a significant threat to the environment. When looking at how to improve the sutainability of a business, reducing the use of PVC products should be high on the action list.
What are the alternative to PVC Vinyl?
Thankfully, there are non-PVC vinyls available which are far more environmentally friendly. In increasing cases they also out-perform PVC-based products.
For example, 3M produce Envision vinyl which is PVC and Phthalate-free, stretches up 150% – making it a great for conforming to curves and undulations – and is highly durable, resisting UV and extreme temperatures. Which means you can continue to use a vinyl covering for your signage while improving sustainability within your business.