Huge wall murals are becoming a staple at offices, hospitals, restaurants, and even homes around the country. Silicon Valley startups and trendy interior design companies have been introducing the public to the amazing presence a wall mural has on the space.

But are those wall murals environmentally safe?

That’s the problem PVC-Free wall murals are trying to solve. Most often made of HP PVC-Free wallpaper, this innovative material is trending and if you’re focusing on an interior redesign, you should know that it exists.

Mosaic wall mural

Image source via Pinterest

Setting the Stage with PVC

What is PVC?

According to PVC.org, PVC, polyvinyl chloride (also known as vinyl) is a thermoplastic that is made up of 57% chlorine and 43% carbon. Used to create a very wide range of consumer goods including bags, bottles, toys, art, flooring and sports equipment just to name a few, it has become the third-most widely used plastic in the world.

Why is it considered harmful?

It is well known that most plastics have a negative impact on the environment. However, PVC has one of the worst. Some of the most prominent chemicals in PVC, including dioxins, pose a serious health threat. Just to put it into perspective, dioxins are among some of the most potent cancer-causing chemicals known to man.

The process for producing PVC requires several chemical reactions. Each chemical reaction releases chemical by-products that can enter the atmosphere, our soil, and our groundwater. Not only does the production of PVC harm threaten the environment but their decomposition does also.

Can you recycle PVC?

In theory, yes you can recycle PVC. However, most recycling plants do not accept PVC due to the fact that the chemicals it contains can and often do contaminate otherwise reusable plastics. Therefore, it is important to make conscious decisions and choose to avoid using products that contain PVC whenever possible. PVC-free products are safer for the environment and, consequently, easier to eliminate.

PVC cannot be incinerated (burned) as a means of disposal due to its chemical composition. Burning PVC releases far too many harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. So, if you cannot incinerate it or recycle it, your last option is taking it to a landfill. Disposing of PVC in a landfill may seem like a good option, but it is actually just the lesser of three evils. Once PVC begins to decompose in a landfill, the harmful chemicals that it is composed of (lead, mercury, chlorine, etc.) still leak into their surroundings. 

The Alternative: PVC-Free Wallpaper

What does “PVC-Free” mean?

PVC-Free wallpaper is not your typical vinyl wallpaper. It is safer than the standard for the manufacturer, installer, client and the environment. It does not emit noxious, chemical scents or expose the user to such dioxins as PVC wallpapers do. HP’s PVC-Free Wallpaper meets health standards has received certifications from GREENGUARD Children and Schools and FSC while meeting AgBB criteria.

Custom Marriott Hotel Wall mural

Marriott History Timeline

What type of quality can I expect from PVC-Free Wallpaper?

On par with HP’s reputation, it is right to assume that HP’s PVC-Free Wallpaper provides high-definition detail, vivid color and a smooth finish for all of your custom mural projects. Easy to install, easy to remove, PVC-free wallpaper has an indoor display performance of up to 20 years.

What are the benefits of using this alternative?

The benefits are two-fold. Using a PVC-free alternative is better for the health of all who come in contact with the product as well as the health of the environment. Due to the fact that PVC-free wallpaper does not contain the same harmful chemicals that vinyl wallpaper contains, it is much easier to dispose of. HP PVC Free Wallpaper is also flame retardant, mold and mildew resistant, uses less-toxic latex inks when used with other HP technology and it comes with an HP warranty.

Who Should Use PVC-Free Wallpaper?

PVC-Free wall murals are more expensive than standard wall murals because they’re made with higher quality material that is reflected in the price. So if you’re an extremely cost-conscious organization, then despite the environmental benefits, PVC-Free may not be the best option for you at this point in time while you’re stretching the budget.

If, however, you’re in more of a sensitive environment or looking to become a green business, it’s a good match for you.

Perfect for areas with children, elderly, and healthcare

The HP PVC-Free wallpaper is GREENGUARD Children & Schools certified. According to the certification document, “children are more heavily exposed to environmental toxins than adults. They consume more food, water, and have higher inhalation rates per pound of body weight than adults.”

And so because of this, the certification was created, with this in mind:

GREENGUARD Gold Certification (formerly known as GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification) offers stricter certification criteria, considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly), and ensures that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities. It is referenced by both The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Rating System.

Not only is is approved for use in areas with children, the elderly, and healthcare environments, but if your building is looking for LEED certification, look into this product.

 

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