In this section you will find expert opinions on plastic pipes.
The development, production and introduction of new types of plastics are the result of the technical development of the last decade not only in the plastics industry. In recent years, however, some types of plastic, such as PVC-U, have not benefited some consumer groups. In 2000 (70 years after the start of industrial production), PVC polymer consumption in Europe increased to about 2.5 million tonnes. Today in Europe, over 31% of all pipelines are made of PVC.
Several modifications of the original PVC-U - co-extruded (multi-layered), modified PVC-P, molecular-oriented MO-PVC, chlorinated PVC-C, cross-linked PVC-UX and others, which have many better properties, are being developed today. Ecological Ca + Zn based stabilizers are also used. The results of tests of the original PVC samples from the 1930s confirmed that their lifetime is definitely more than 2 times higher than originally designed for 50 years.
The material recycling effect is now invaluable and necessary (ecology, energy saving, material). PVC can be repeatedly extruded without impairing its properties. It is possible to "extend" this way the life cycle of PVC for several hundred years.
The condition for the use of any material in investment-intensive buildings, including sewerage or water mains, is a sufficiently long service life. In literature, we are often confronted with the fear that plastic pipes can really last the required fifty or one hundred years. Indeed, they are relatively new "no tradition" materials, and they have not yet had enough evidence. a well-known scene with a plastic spoon in the film Beds.
Commonly used PVC, PE and PP are today well known, tried and tested materials.
At the same time, they are the main materials for pipeline production:
On the basis of theoretical background and thanks to the method of so-called accelerated aging of plastics we are able to predict durability of plastics based on short-term intensive tests. It then enters into relevant standards and calculations. According to TEPPFA, sewer pipes complying with the relevant standards (ČSN EN 1401-1, ČSN EN 13 476-1, etc.) are considered to be long-life components that are 100 years old. Similarly, according to ČSN EN 12 201, the lifetime of PE pressure pipes is at least 100 years.
There are articles in the press that point out the harmfulness of plastics, including plastic pipes. Let us discuss these arguments from the perspective of technical facts.
The production of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) takes place in closed systems, at temperatures that are very low compared to metal, cement or stoneware. Also, the processing of pipes and fittings is an energy-saving and environmentally friendly process - at temperatures around 200 ° C, no harmful substances are released. The same can be said for conventional plastic recycling methods. The lifespan of plastic pipes is guaranteed by standards for at least a hundred years, with an estimated lifetime of hundreds of years.
Plastics can in most cases be almost 100% recycled. Too contaminated plastics can be thermally split into chemicals usable for re-production of polymers, or burned in the corresponding equipment, utilizing their energy content. Like plastic, metal pipes can be fully recycled. Concrete and stoneware can also be crushed; the pulp is used in the building industry only as a filler, filler material, etc. Only a small amount of stoneware pulp is able to reuse it as a grit.
PVC, polyethylene (PE) and PP polypropylene powders and granules are normally safe under normal conditions. For example, PVC powder is a non-toxic material that can only mildly irritate the mucosa mechanically. No adverse effects on humans, no carcinogenicity, no mutagenic effects, no bioaccumulation potential, PVC is classified as non-hazardous to water. Similar data applies to polyethylene and polypropylene.
In the processing of a wide range of materials - for example, food - chemical additives of different composition are used. Today they have become a synonym of negative influences. For the production and processing of plastics for pipes, additives that could affect the environment or endanger human health must not be used in EU countries: instead of the former lead salts, stabilizers based on harmless calcium and zinc are used, heavy metals are not even in dyes.
No plasticizers are added to the PVC when making the pipes. Pipes for utility networks must be rigid, so they are made of unplasticized (hard) PVC. There is no need to use PP and PE plasticizers at all Problems with additives can occur when importing products from outside the EU, which (unfortunately) is often seen in cheap Chinese consumer products.
Thus, plastic pipes contain a minimum of additional additives. Even this small amount is very firmly bound in them, as evidenced by the so-called leachate tests of pipes intended for contact with drinking water. These plastics are also used in medicine (surgery) where they are in direct contact with human tissues without any consequences.
Soil does not attack plastics chemically, in the ground the plastics do not break apart by themselves, there is no decomposition at normal or slightly elevated temperatures. The use or landfilling of unneeded PE, PP or PVC pipes does not pose an environmental threat, as plastics do not release pollutants into the ground, into the water or into the air. The Ministry of the Environment grants the plastic products, so far only PP and PE - the guarantee of composition and after verifying a safe way of production - the eco-label Eco-friendly product.
All burning organic materials, including plastics, have a negative impact on the environment as they are the source of carbon dioxide, one of the main culprits of global warming. When burning plastics such as PE, PP, also polybutene, which consist only of carbon and hydrogen atoms, only carbon oxides, water and nothing else are produced. However, carbon oxides and water are produced in every burning of organic matter (more carbon monoxide and more carbon black are generated when there is insufficient air access). Carbon monoxide poisoning is even the most common cause of fire deaths, far more common than death due to burns or burns.
PVC contains about 57% chlorine in addition to carbon and hydrogen. It is therefore hardly flammable, self-extinguishing, and needs the presence of a flame of another flammable material for burning. When burning, less heat is released than other plastics. Pollutants can also be generated when PVC is burned - in addition to carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide and water, hydrogen chloride is also released. The concentration is 100 times less than harmful to health, but its pungent odor effectively signals a fire - irritating the airways of the people present. Furthermore, according to the burning conditions, small amounts of dangerous chlorinated hydrocarbons (including dreaded dioxins) may arise, fortunately mostly fixed to soot particles. When the soot particles are removed from the fire site, they are significantly reduced. The possibility of these chlorinated hydrocarbons was at the time the second reason to unleash a PVC campaign.
The same substances, ie hydrogen chloride and chlorinated hydrocarbons (dioxins), can be produced by the combustion of all organic substances containing chlorine, carbon and hydrogen, especially wood. They are also made when grilling,