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Polyvinyl Chloride and recycling/waste management

     Industry professionals are trying to increase the amount of recycled PVC entering new life cycles by recycling the raw materials.  Only the raw materials that require extraction, intermediate production, and polymerisation substitutes recycled material back into a new life cycle (Baitz, 2004).  My first finding was that used hydrochloric acid is recycled to form more EDC in the beginning stages of PVC production (Baitz, 2004).  Also, any unreacted EDC and by products are put back into the beginning of a new process (Baitz, 2004).  Environmental impacts of EDC and VCM production are fairly low (Baitz, 2004).  In the destruction of dioxin containing solid waste, the by product HCI can be re used in PVC production or re-fined to a new commercial product (Baitz, 2004).  Moving further along the PVC production process, VCM poses the highest environmental impact.  This is because VCM is heavily involved in PVC production and is made up of ethylene which requires intensive energy for production (Baitz, 2004).  When VCM is filtered out during the polymerisation process, VCM can be recovered from gas flows using a condenser (Baitz, 2004).  When producers are ready to start a new batch of PVC, they rinse the reactor with water to remove any residue from the previous process.  With intensive degassing processes throughout polymerisation, they can reduce the amount of wasted residual monomer (Baitz, 2004).  This idea of “closed loop recycling”, or putting the by products or unreacted material back into a new life cycle could lower environmental impacts (Baitz, 2004).  This recycling process is efficient as long as the amount of recycled material is below its demand (Baitz, 2004).  On the other hand, problems are predicted with the continuing enhancement of stabilisers used in PVC manufacturing.  New and improved stabiliser systems may not be compatible with the older stabilisers that remain in the recycled material; however, this is not currently a problem as we have not reached this transition in technology (Baitz, 2004).  It is hypothesized that recycled material with an outer layer of the enhanced material could fix this possible compatibility issue in the future (Baitz, 2004).\

 

 

 

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