Recycling of PVC and Mixed Plastic Waste
PVC presents particular difficulties in disposal due to the potential environmental hazards associated with the chlorine content of the polymer. In principle materials recycling provides an ecologically acceptable way of re-utilising the energy content of the polymer but the processing operation is damaging to the durability of recycled artifacts unless the provenance of the waste is known.
The principles involved in the protection of PVC against the mechanochemical damage that occurs during processing are discussed for both rigid PVC and its modified forms. The importance of knowing the previous history of PVC waste is emphasised, with particular reference to the stabilisers used. It is suggested that the most effective method of recycling PVC is in a “closed loop”, so that the previous history and particularly the stabiliser formulation of the recovered polymer is known.