Did you know that by switching to PVC-free materials for your signage you can make a positive impact on the environment?
We’re all much more environmentally conscious these days and paying more attention to our carbon footprint and plastic consumption. Plastic pollution is a growing problem: we use about five million tonnes of plastic every year in the UK – but only 25% of it is recycled1.
When choosing signage for your business, it pays to consider the impact your choice will have on the world around us. One of the most widely used plastics is polyvinyl chloride – or PVC – but did you know that PVC is actually the most environmentally damaging plastic2?
Luckily, there are now a range of brilliant alternatives to choose from, such as PVC-free vinyl.
What’s the problem with PVC?
PVC plastic is found everywhere, from packaging to building materials and, yes, signage too. It’s versatile, lightweight and cheap, so no wonder it is widely used.
But PVC has some major pitfalls, the most significant being its poor sustainability credentials. Put simply, PVC is bad for our planet. Much of it cannot be recycled, or recycled sustainably, and it’s estimated that more than 80% of non-recyclable signage ends up in landfill3.
PVC can also release toxic chemicals during its life-cycle of production, use and disposal.
Plus, it may be cheap, but PVC signage is not usually as long-lasting as signs made from some other materials. There are many factors that influence the durability of exterior signage, but you can expect your PVC signs to last up to five years.
What’s the alternative to PVC?
There are plenty of great alternatives to PVC signage nowadays, with the emergence of PVC-free vinyl offering more sustainable and eco-friendly options.
PVC-free vinyl is made from plastics and polymers that are more easily recyclable and have a smaller carbon footprint compared with PVC. The main PVC-free materials are:
- PP vinyl – PP or polypropylene is a 100% recyclable thermoplastic polymer, great for long-lasting, heavy-duty outdoor signage.
- PET vinyl – PET or polythene terephthalate is also 100% recyclable, but it’s more flexible and supple than PP vinyl. It’s also easy to print onto.
- Polyester vinyl – another 100% recyclable option, this synthetic material is used for fabric vinyl and works well for backdrops, murals and displays.
One of the biggest challenges of using vinyl banners is that they are not recyclable. Using recyclable solutions like the above, along with recyclable banner grommets ensures that when banners are no longer fit for purpose, the whole banner can be recycled quickly and easily.
Is PVC or PVC-free signage best for me?
It’s crucial for all of us to play our part in helping save and preserve our planet, so choosing more eco-friendly PVC-free vinyl for your business signage means you are making an important difference.
What’s more, PVC-free can be more expensive than PVC, but it’s actually a smarter investment. Cheap materials – whatever their direct impact on the environment – are unsustainable, and more expensive in the long-run. They need frequent replacement, and therefore disposal, thus contributing to the plastic pollution crisis.
So, if you’re serious about boosting your brand awareness, maximising the power of visual marketing and investing in your business for the long-run, you should be considering PVC-free vinyl. Not only is it much better for the environment, it’s the cost-effective choice, too.
3 Taken from Elmtree brochure