PVC versus Polypropylene

June 20, 2009

PVC facts

PVC is short for poly vinyl chloride. It is dangerous in it's basic form and needs lead to stabilize it for production. We know lead is highly toxic during the life of it's product and during disposal. PVC is extremely heat unstable and has been known to decompose during manufacturing. PVC contains approx 30% (by weight) of Chlorine. We know what damage chlorine does to coins and to our environment. To make pvc into usable products it has to be made flexible and softer by the addition of plasticisers. These plasticisers are called phthalates which are known carcinogens -yes, they cause cancer! These plasticisers leach out of the pvc product and onto your coins and into the environment. PVC is non-recyclable due to it's chemical composition. It's all these harmful chemicals and decomposition of the material that make pvc unsuitable for long term coin storage.

Polypropylene (PP) facts

Polypropylene is a neutral plastic containing only 2 elements Carbon and Hydrogen. Polypropylene doesn't use any dangerous chemicals in it's production. Polypropylene sheet is manufactured from propylene monomer which is a relatively safe gas. This gas is a waste product of the petroleum industry and used to be burned off contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the more PP made and used in products helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Polypropylene is an extremely heat tolerant and stable plastic making it a suitable alternative in all climates around the country. Polypropylene is 100% recyclable.

In summary there is CLEAR evidence that PP is a safer, non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative to the obsolete technologies that gave us plastics such as pvc. Polypropylene is also the preferred product for storage use in the Australian National Archives!

It's time we moved into the future with our collecting and commit to removing all the damaging pvc from our collections and storing them safely with the use of polypropylene pages and albums.

Posted by harrisk at June 20, 2009 5:41 PM
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