Vinyl is the second most produced plastic in the world. Some of the first vinyl products were golf balls and shoe heels, back in the 1920s.
Today, many more products are made of it, like raincoats, wires, shower curtains, appliances, floor tiles, paints, and surface coatings.
The construction industry uses vinyl based products a lot. Vinyl flooring and vinyl sidings are the most common.
Vinyl is made from converting raw materials like petroleum, natural gas or coal into a synthetic product called ‘polymers.
Therefore, crude oil, when mixed with chlorine, forms a type of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) called resin or vinyl.
Vinyl has many properties that render it a favourite. It can resist against moisture and humidity, it is strong and durable, like plastic, it comes in many colours, even transparent, and it does not cost much to produce.
The great thing about vinyl is that unlike other plastic materials, it can be recycled. Since vinyl is a strong material anyways, things made from it last very long. Recycling vinyl means things will last even longer.
It is therefore considered an environmentally friendly material, also because it is made from some renewable sources (the chloride is taken from common salt).
Also, the crude oil (petroleum) base it has only makes up for about 43%, so there is no pollution to the environment either.
Therefore, in comparison with other materials, vinyl uses fewer natural resources, less energy to produce and releases lower emissions into the environment.
It could be said that since its introduction in 1920s, the vinyl material has changed the entire plastic resin industry.