Understanding Your Plastics – PVCs

So why limit your exposure to PVC?

Our sister company Naked Binder makes off the shelf eco friendly 3-ring binders and pocket folders and has done a lot of research on vinyls, plastics and the environment.  Corporate Image has been printing with soy inks, using recycled papers and board and making custom recycled and recyclable 3-ring binders, pocket folders and boxes for nearly 30 years. Together we plan to make recyclable 3-ring binders and folders the standard, eliminating tons of vinyl waste in our landfills, offices and homes.

Why you ask?  So happy you did!


No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals. These include dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins. There’s no safe way to manufacture, use or dispose of PVC products

In You and your food. As a persistent bioaccumulative toxin (PBT), it does not breakdown rapidly and travels around the globe, accumulating in fatty tissue and concentrating as it goes up the food chain. Dioxins from Louisiana manufacturing plants migrate on the winds and concentrate in Great Lakes fish. Dioxins are even found in hazardous concentrations in the tissues of whales and polar bears and in Inuit mother’s breast milk. The dioxin exposure of the average American already poses a calculated risk of cancer of greater than 1 in 1,000 – thousands of times greater than the usual standard for acceptable risk. Really scary is that dioxins concentrate in breast milk to the point that human infants now receive high doses, orders of magnitude greater than those of the average adult.

Air pollution near plants: In Mossville, Louisiana, air monitoring conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1999 showed concentrations of vinyl chloride more than 120 times higher than the ambient air standard.

Working in plants: Studies have documented links between working in vinyl chloride production facilities and the increased likelihood of developing diseases including angiosarcoma of the liver, a rare form of liver cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, and liver cirrhosis.

(non) Recycling

The multitudes of additives required to make PVC useful make large scale post consumer recycling nearly impossible for most products and interfere with the recycling of other plastics. Of an estimated 7 billion pounds of PVC thrown away in the US, only 14 million – less than 1/2 of 1 percent – is recycled. The Association of Post Consumer Plastics Recyclers declared efforts to recycle PVC a failure and labeled it a contaminant in 1998.  We tried.  Learn more about how that went.

Although vinyl is in theory recyclable, there are currently no vinyl recycling programs available.  The vast majority of PVCs end up in landfill or incinerated – and both are environmentally hazardous. Currently 0.1% to 3% of vinyl is recycled (mostly industrial waste) of the 2 billion and 4 billion pounds of PVC that is discarded in the US every year.

Fire dangers

PVC poses a great risk in building fires, as it releases deadly gases long before it ignites, such as hydrogen chloride which turns to hydrochloric acid when inhaled. As it burns, whether accidentally or in waste incineration, it releases yet more toxic dioxins. PVC burning in landfill fires may now be the single largest source of dioxin releases to the environment. If you see the former entry about recycling, with the approximately 8400 landfill fires every year in the US, this is an issue.

More Information

What are Dioxins?

Types of Vinyl

 Links to more information

Healthy Building Network

EPA Enforcement    EPA regulates

Ecocycle on recycling

PVC Information

dangers in making   dangers in fire      disposing of PVC

Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

PVC, the Poison Plastic – Unhealthy for Our Nation’s Children and Schools: PDF | HTML

Our Health and PVC – What’s the Connection?: PDF HTML

PVC Flooring and Toxic Cleaning Products: PDF | HTML

Top Ten Reasons Your School Should Go PVC-Free: PDF | HTML

PVC & Environmental Justice: PDF HTML

PVC Policies Around the World: PDF | HTML

Wikipedia’s entry

Ted Talks: Diana Cohen: Tough Truths About Plastic Pollution

Ted Talks: Capt. Charles Moore on Seas of Plastic

Healthy Building Network


Vinyl Industry Sites

Vinyl Institute

Corporate Image is 100% Green to the Core

Eco-Friendly Custom Binder

We’re passionate about sustainable presentation products

Corporate Image wants to make vinyl binders disappear from the marketplace and replace them with our  paper-based custom binders made from 100% post-consumer waste binders board. There are a number of issues with vinyl, but the most significant ones revolve around health risks. First being, vinyl binders have become extremely difficult to dispose of because of the danger they pose to the environment, especially to drinking water. Companies will occasionally call us to ask where they can send their old vinyl binders and we tell them that the vinyl has to be removed from the covers in order to be recycled or sent to the landfill. Many companies don’t have the time, money or manpower to do this. The second issue with vinyl binders is they are toxic to our health because they are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and other chemicals, such as phthalates to make the plastic soft. When you smell vinyl, toxic chemical, off-gassing can be present, which may contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches, damage to the kidneys and central nervous system. During manufacturing and waste incineration, PVC releases dioxins into the air, which are linked with cancer, diabetes, birth defects and other adverse health effects.

Whats the alternative? Go green with a Corporate Image binder made from a core of 100% post consumer waste binder board. Then wrap it with recycled paper, which can be printed with soy inks. Our custom binders are environmentally friendly and truly sustainable. They’ve been tested by U.S.Testing Laboratories for durability, which consisted of opening and closing the binders over 250,000 times before the spine began to show wear. This is the equivalent of about 10 years use. What’s more, when you’re done with your binder, it doesn’t have to go in the landfill; instead, it can be fully recycled. We’re starting to incorporate higher percentages of recycled materials into our other products, as well as design products that use less energy and materials.


Guide To BPAs – why to be concerned

Welcome to the wonders of social media!  I found this forwarded via facebook by a friend via a long chain of people I don’t know.  Love that.

Environmental Working Groups has a new guide on BPAs – what they are, how to avoid them. For Example:

What are its health risks?


BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the endocrine system, even in small amounts. It has been linked to a wide variety of ills, including infertility, breast and reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, behavioral changes in children and resistance to chemotherapy treatments.

The site has a lot of good information – check them out!

A Guide To BPA 

Environmental Working Group

Understanding which Plastics are which.

Plastics have become an everyday part of our lives, but are there issues we need to consider?

What are the issues inherent in the type of plastic should that, say, you have it on the shelf as a vinyl binder or as a cup you drink out of.  As we become more aware of  of what we are putting into our bodies (and the pacific gyre).

This  graphic is obviously not by the plastics industry (which I am sure has a different take on this), but might be something to get you more curious as to how plastics can affect you, if they are affecting you and what you can do about it.  While we are not advocating wide spread panic about these, it is useful and instructive to know what you are surrounding yourself with.

There is a reason that Corporate Image and Naked Binder do not use PVCs.  The studies on the issues with PVC are clear and the issues are huge.  While the are not banned in the USA, many industries (car manufacturers, shoe manufacturers, makers of children’s toys and a whole lot more) are voluntarily cutting use of PVC and other vinyls.

For more information on vinyl or recycling vinyl binders you can look here.  Wikipedia has a history and a lot of references on plastics here and the EPA information on PVC here.

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