PVC - the wonder stuff

Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC as it’s better known, is pretty amazing. In the past it’s had a bad rap but things have most definitely moved on and we wouldn’t be without it, for good reason.

Between 40% and 45% of a non-rubber based Altro flooring product is made of PVC. It’s like the ideal athlete; tough, durable, light-weight and flexible. It’s ideal for creating a range of flooring products, such as ours, that are suitable for every sort of indoor environment.

Our use of PVC isn’t limited to our flooring; Altro wall cladding is constructed with PVCu, otherwise known as rigid PVC. This helps make Altro Whiterock hygienic wall cladding system, robust, scuff-resistant and easy-to-clean, providing the protection needed across a wide range of applications.

Taking responsibility

We’ve taken steps to help make sure the PVC we use is produced and recycled responsibly. Our products are completely free from phthalate plasticisers, a substance used in PVC to make it flexible. We use a bio-plasticiser from a renewable resource; European-grown maize. We've also operated a zero-waste-to-landfill policy at our Letchworth site since 2007.

Click on the logo for further information
about Vinyl Plus.

Altro are members of VinylPlus, a programme driving the sustainable development of the European PVC industry. This is a voluntary scheme with members including non-governmental organisations, regulators, public representatives, manufacturers and users of PVC. The scheme has been recognised by the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development.

VinylPlus say: “PVC is a preferred material in terms of quality, value and environmental safety. It helps others to reach their sustainability goals and is seen as a safe material providing convenience, comfort and high social value as well as having good sustainability credentials. This has been achieved by leadership and commitment from the industry, itself working
with others in an open and honest way".

By 2015, VinylPlus had recycled over half a million tonnes of PVC waste and between 2000 and 2010, established a sustainable European PVC recycling scheme and phased out heavy metal additives.

Aside from allowing us to develop the flooring that you know and trust, there are other reasons that PVC is a vital component of our products:


PVC is not carcinogenic and does not appear on any known list of carcinogenic substances, in fact it’s one of the few approved materials for manufacturing blood bags, surgical tubing and catheters.

PVC is flame-retardant and actually self-extinguishes when the source of the flame has gone. This makes it a favoured material within the building industry and the material of choice for electrical conduit. The biggest killer in a building fire is carbon monoxide, which is odourless; when PVC burns, it produces a small amount of hydrogen chlorine, which has a pungent smell that can act as an early warning system.

Natural beginnings

Unlike most plastics, 57% of PVC is made from salt. The rest is derived from oil, with global production accounting for approximately 0.3% of the world’s oil consumption.

Environmental impact

PVC has a relatively low carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through production. Its production actually uses less energy than manufacturing rubber, linoleum or wood with the carbon footprint of 1kg of PVC being the same as that of 1kg of breakfast cereal.


PVC is highly recyclable. It’s a thermoplastic which can be melted and used again…and again….and again, without affecting its performance. Every time it’s used again, it contributes a smaller carbon footprint.

For more information on what sustainability means to us and the actions we take to support this, click here