PVC at London Olympics Destined for Reuse Or Recycling

London’s Olympic organizers were very conscious of the legacy that the games of the 30th Olympiad would leave behind, both in terms of the emotional and cultural imprint of the event on the country, as well as the bricks-and-mortar legacy of venues purpose-built for the Olympics. Beijing’s 2008 games were truly a spectacle, with innovative and striking architecture playing a huge role, but four years on, some of the most iconic structures, including the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium have settled into disuse and disrepair.

The decision to stage shooting at a temporary venue, versus investing in existing brick-and-mortar sites so they could host an Olympic-sized competition, was not without controversy, but in any case, the resulting designs, which rely heavily on polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are being touted by the vinyl community, including the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers.

The ECVM noted that more than 142,000 sq m of PVC fabric were in the Olympic Park and external sites. A cradle-to-grave sustainable approach to the material was also taken, reflective of London’s efforts to put on the greenest games ever.

PVC used at the Olympics includes at least 30% recycled content, and is manufactured in accordance with the ECVM Industry Charter, which means it meets standards for effluent discharges and vent gases, and does not contain lead, mercury or cadmium stabilizers, among other substances.

Solvay Vinyls is helping the Olympic Games meet its sustainability commitments, according to the company, thanks to its VinyLoop recycling technology for PVC composites. Serge Ferrari, a global supplier of architectural tarpaulins and a VinyLoop partner, has delivered 80% of the PVC-coated technical textiles used by the London Olympics.

Some of the PVC-coated textiles temporary used at London 2012 venues will be re-employed in soccer stadiums currently under construction in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Others will be converted in gym mats for schools with the remainder recycled at VinyLoop’s Ferrara plant.

Jo Carris, learning legacy ambassador of the Olympic Games, said: “The PVC policy focused attention on the use of PVC across the project and highlighted that the functional properties of PVC make it the most appropriate material in certain circumstances.”

What Are The Uses Of Polyvinyl Chloride?

Polyvinyl chloride(referred as PVC) is one of the most used plastic materials in the world. At global level, demand for this chemical exceeds 35 million tonnes per annum and it is in constant growth (+5% on global average), with higher growth rates in the developing countries.

Polyvinyl chloride products make life safer, more comfortable and more pleasurable. And, because polyvinyl chloride has an excellent ratio of economic cost to performance, it allows people of all income levels access to these important benefits. The diversity of PVC applications challenges the imagination. In everyday life, they are all around us, from construction profiles to medical devices, from roofing membranes to credit cards, from children’s toys to pipes for water and gas. Few other materials are as versatile or able to fulfil such demanding specifications. In this way, its facilitates creativity and innovation, making new possibilities.

PVC Pipe
It is a light and durable plastic tube used for plumbing. It is readily available at hardware stores and home improvement centers. The pipe and connectors lend themselves to endless configurations, including pieces of furniture. Clever do-it-yourselfers construct items such as chairs, tables, shelves and even bed frames out of this pipe. With a good plan and some general guidelines, almost anyone can make a piece of furniture out of this material.

PVC-dipped Gloves
This type of gloves come in a variety of special configurations that make them especially useful for specific applications. This type of gloves are designed to be heat-resistant, and most come with a special grip finish on the palms and fingertips to reduce the possibility of slippage. This versatility and its inherent properties, make them especially suited for industrial applications.

This kind of products are also puncture-resistant. This makes them ideal for procedures where blood or other bodily fluids may contain pathogens and extra care is needed. They are ultra-thin, which allows the wearer to retain his sense of touch and the precision needed when performing medical tasks.

PVC Cement
Polyvinyl chloride cement is used to solvent-weld PVC pipe and fittings together for numerous applications. The cement acts less like a standard glue than a chemical solvent that “melts” the polyvinyl chloride to join it together. It is typically colored purple or blue. Once the fittings or pipes are joined, knowing how to dissolve this material to clean up the area becomes important. The coloring of the cement can show through wall paint or tint plaster if left on a surface.

Polyvinyl chloride cements work so well because they melt the hard plastic surface of the PVC pipe and and thus cold-weld the two surfaces together. The carriers and solvents melt the surface of the PVC plastic pipe and fittings. The polyvinyl chloride resins in the glue mix with the melted surfaces to form a complete, water-tight bond as the surfaces meld. After the solvent is allowed to cure, the joint acts as if it had been manufactured as one part.

See, polyvinyl chloride has played an irreplaceable role in our daily lile, from agriculture to industry.