PVC in consumer goods

Of the PVC produced by European manufacturers , around five per cent is used in consumer goods. New uses are being found all the time, as the versatility of PVC allows it to compete with many materials such as metal, wood and glass for use in everyday products.

PVC is all around us

PVC helps make our lives easier, safer, more convenient and more enjoyable. Products made from this versatile material offer a range of benefits to society and contribute to enhanced standards of living.

PVC is all around us. It is used in a diverse range of consumer goods, from bags, bottles, toys and televisions, through to fashion, flooring, art and sports equipment. It plays an important role in our everyday lives.

A good example of how PVC can be substituted for other materials is found in the clothing industry, where it is increasingly being used as a substitute for leather. Not only are leather-like PVC coated fabrics cheaper to produce, but they also offer great flexibility to fashion designers. The overall effect is that stylish clothing from the catwalk can be brought to the high-street at an affordable price and without the environmental or ethical impacts sometimes associated with leather.

Why is PVC popular?

PVC is popular with manufacturers because it is:

Easy to use

and convert into many different forms

Strong and durable

but light weight


and resistant to aggressive chemicals

Relatively low energy demand

in manufacture and longevity in service, making it a cost-effective material in both economic and environmental terms

An innovative material

enabling designers to improve products and create new ones

Cost competitive

which allows the production of good quality goods at a reasonable price

PVC consumer goods applications

Many different types of consumer goods are made from PVC or contain PVC, including:


pvc furniture
Both rigid and flexible PVC are used to good effect in modern furniture design. Rigid PVC is used for light shades, handles and panels. Flexible PVC is used for wall coverings, floorings, inflatable couches and even inflatable chairs! Kitchen and bathroom furniture is often protected against water by a thin PVC film.


pvc shoes
PVC is used in the soles and uppers of modern shoes. It provides a synthetic alternative to traditional leather in formal shoes, often allowing for more cost-effective production and innovative styles through its capacity to be moulded into shape. Modern sports shoes also make extensive use of PVC to provide shock absorbance, support and strength for demanding use.

Credit cards

pvc credit cards
PVC is the most common material for credit, debit and phone cards. It is tough, flexible, durable, and cost effective to produce. It is also easy to print on: PVC is a thermoplastic, so numbers can easily be imprinted onto cards with the application of heat.

Sports equipment

pvc sports equipment
It is not only sports shoes that use PVC. The material is also employed as coverings, coatings and components in sports equipment and clothing. It is used in a large number of sports such as football, rugby, golf, sailing etc.


pvc clothing
The functional qualities of PVC make it a great material for protective clothing outdoors. It has long been the material of choice for children's rainwear, and it is tested through its use in protective work-wear. PVC has also played a role in fashion design for many years, from its early applications in the 1960s.


The toughness and durability of PVC make it an excellent material from which to make bags and luggage. With many different colours and material effects available, PVC provides the material for bags suitable for every environment, from the school playground to the beach.

A safety perspective

PVC not only provides a versatile and affordable material from which to produce consumer goods, but it is also:

Safe & non-toxic

and inherently fire-retardant

Meets all international standards

for health and safety

More than 50 years

of safe use

The world's most researched and thoroughly tested plastic

posing negligible health risks to consumers in use, and can be safely disposed of.