Facts about PVC and the environment


  • PVC has the lowest energy load of comparable plastic materials.
  • The process energy from extraction of oil to plastic production is 0 – 40 MJ/kg, and there is no notable difference between PVC and other plastics.
  • However, plastics mainly composed of hydrocarbons from oil, such as polyolefins and polystyrene, require 48 – 54 MJ/kg of feedstock (resource) energy.
  • PVC with a chlorine component of more than half of its weight only requires about 27 MJ/kg – roughly half the resource energy needed for these other plastics.
  • The sum of process energy and resource energy for PVC is about 57 MJ/kg – 73% of the sum needed for low density polyethylene (LDPE) (78 MJ/kg), which is widely used as packaging.


  • CO2 emission from PVC is 1.8 kg/kg, which is higher than that of polyolefin and lower than that of PS and PET.
  • NOx and SOx emissions from PVC are 3 g/kg and 4 g/kg respectively.

The above facts are taken from the eco-profile data published by PlasticsEurope for general purpose plastics.