PVC in piping systems

PVC pipes are used in a wide variety of piping applications, from transportation of drinking water over drainage solutions to advanced fire-sprinkler systems. This popularity owes to a unique combination of properties: safety, durability/cost-efficiency, environmental performance and recyclability.

Safe, durable, sustainable and recyclable PVC pipes

PVC piping applications are everywhere, though you may not see them or think about them. When you turn on the tap, safe PVC pipes make sure you have clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing and other routines in your daily life. And when you are done with the water, durable PVC pipes make sure the waste water is transported to the treatment plant. These are just some of the many applications of PVC in piping systems:

Drinking water pipes

PVC pipes are a safe choice for transportation of drinking water. This is due to their high degree of inertness and resistance to corrosion. PVC pipes are therefore free from bio-film contamination that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. By helping provide clean water, PVC pipes are beneficial to public health. PVC drinking water pipes are 100% recyclable.

Pipes for soil and waste

Pipes and fittings for the evacuation of waste water without pressure inside the buildings. These are usually of medium diameters and can be made of compact PVC or have structured walls (foam core). PVC pipes for soil and waste are 100% recyclable.

Underground sewage and drainage pipes

Pipes and fittings for the collection and evacuation of waste water without pressure and intended to be buried in the ground (horizontally). These are usually of large diameter (160 mm and up to 630 mm). They can be made of compact PVC or have structured walls (foam core or twin wall with a corrugated layer). PVC undeground sewage and drainage pipes are 100% recyclable.

Pipes for many centuries

The first PVC piping systems were installed over 80 years and most of these are still in use. The expected lifespan of a PVC pipe is 100 years or more for underground pipes. PVC piping systems show a much lower failure rate than other materials. Durability, in combination with low maintenance and installation costs, makes PVC pipes a very cost-efficient choice.

PVC pipes are easily recyclable and can be recycled many times without losing their technical properties. Each year around 80,000 tonnes of PVC pipes are recycled in Europe through the VinylPlus® programme. This recyclate is used to manufacture new pipes and a range of other PVC products. Traceability and certification schemes for recyclates ensure a high degree of safety and quality for the recycled PVC.

The best choice for the environment

PVC pipes have clear environmental advantages over traditional materials. As PVC is a low carbon plastic, PVC pipes require less energy and fewer resources to manufacture. Due to their low weight, less energy is used when transported. PVC pipes last long with a minimum of maintenance and they are easily recyclable. Many new PVC pipes contain recyclates. For instance three-layer pipes where the core layer is made of recycled PVC. Moreover, the ultra-smooth surface of PVC pipes reduces pumping costs and energy use, and their leak-free fittings eliminate water loss. This is good for both the environment and the utility bill.


For more information about PVC in piping systems, go to PVC4Pipes – the ECVM platform dedicated to PVC in piping systems.