New phthalate-free plasticizer gives flexible PVC an environmental edge

flexible plastic tubingPVC has long battled detractors in spite of its amazing properties that make it popular in building and construction, automotive, plumbing, medical and wire and cable applications, among others. The fact that the material has suffered over the years from its poor image of not being “green” in this era of sustainability, due in large part to misinformation surrounding plasticizers, hasn’t helped.

Perstorp (Malmo, Sweden), a global leader in pro-environment polyols, announced the launch of a new renewable polyol ester (non-phthalate) plasticizer, Pevalen Pro. According to the company, Pevalen Pro will make flexible PVC an even more attractive choice of plastic because of its significantly lower carbon footprint versus competing materials and technologies. Pevalen Pro not only gives PVC an environmental boost as a truly renewable non-phthalate plasticizer but also provides superior performance properties, said the company.

“Brand owners and consumers are searching for new plastics and materials with a sustainable profile and low carbon footprint,” said Jenny Klevas, Perstorp Global Marketing and Product Manager for the polyol ester plasticizer platform. “We believe that flexible PVC with Pevalen Pro is the perfect combination, as it offers precisely what they are looking for—a high-performance product with a significantly better environmental footprint.”

Pevalen, a true non-phthalate plasticizer, was launched by Perstorp in 2014 as a premium performance alternative to phthalates, especially in sensitive and close-to-people applications where health concerns were, and are, in focus. Pevalen provided PVC converters with a cost-effective, low environmental impact solution due to its plasticizing efficiency (less material required), faster processing time (less energy), low volatility, high UV stability (prevents premature aging) and “unbeatable softness for long-life performance,” said Perstorp.

According to Perstorp, PVC is already a “very sustainable material” with one of the “smallest shares of carbon atoms” and is lightweight, flexible and durable. It also promotes sustainability through its properties by giving products longer and often maintenance-free lifetime use. While many claim that PVC is not recyclable, Perstorp notes that PVC actually is a recyclable material “if made the right way," which the proactive Vinyl Plus initiative in Europe, to which Perstorp belongs, is focusing on. “This PVC industry-funded commitment to sustainable development aims to increase the recycling capacity of PVC and improve the overall sustainability performance,” said Perstorp’s information.

The launch of Pevalen Pro this year represents a timely and significant contribution to lowering the carbon footprint of PVC, underlining its importance as a sustainable plastic, said Perstorp.

Currently, Pevalen has a clear cradle-to-grave sustainability advantage over leading plasticizer competitors such as DINP, DOTP and CINCH, based on GWP (Global Warming Potential), according to Perstorp. Plasticizers make up a significant part of PVC (up to 40% in some applications), so the availability of Pevalen Pro can help producers to lower their carbon footprint. Using the new Pevalen Pro will increase that pro-environmental advantage, and will be initially available with up to 40% renewable content, with the long-term potential of becoming fully renewable, said Perstorp.

Pevalen Pro is a direct replacement for Pevalen with no compromise on quality or performance. The renewable grades are made under the Mass Balance concept and are backed by third-party ISCC certification, which guarantees that the bio-based input is sustainably sourced.

Image: aquatarkus/Adobe Stock

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