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All about Plastics: PVC

We have already covered two of the recycling numbers, so let’s tackle recycling number 3! The plastic recycled under this number is PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride. If you are like me, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of PVC is plumbing pipe. While PVC is commonly used for a variety of construction uses, there are more uses for PVC including shrink film, cosmetic containers like bath salt tubes, vinyl siding, windows and even medical equipment.

PVC is made by polymerizing the monomer gas, vinyl chloride. This makes a strong plastic that is resistant to solvents, has low costs and is used in a wide variety of items. The biggest complaint we hear about PVC is that it has a slight haze to the appearance. PET is crystal clear, and PVC does have a haze. Precleaning the bottle or jar only enhances the hazy appearance. PVC has been known to crack when dropped! it is not as resilient as HDPE or MDPE or PET.

While PVC is still not always accepted at every recycling center, it is still a recycled plastic and often recycled into fences, mudflaps, flooring and even speed bumps!


  • Very rigid
  • Easy to recycle
  • Best used as a jar


  • Not completely transparent
  • Not squeezable

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for our next plastic, LDPE (Low-density polyethylene)! I’ll keep filling your brains with this cool information. 😉

Recycling symbol for PVC plastics

Recycling symbol for PVC plastics

PVC Pipe.

PVC Pipe.

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