12 Sep 2023

The rise of PVC Free in visual communication

Sustainability and the urgency to reduce carbon footprint have ceased to be merely a matter of personal good practices. Companies are taking on an increasingly active role in this fight to ensure the future for all. One way to do so in the field of visual communication is through PVC Free films. In this article, we explain what PVC is and how sustainable alternatives are gaining ground with effective solutions for printing and lamination.


1. PVC and its use

1.1. What is it?
Polyvinyl chloride (commonly known as PVC), is a plastic produced by polymerizing vinyl chloride, i.e., transforming simple and lightweight particles (monomers) into larger and compound particles (polymers). It appears as white powder and its composition consists of 57% chlorine, derived from sodium chloride, and 43% ethylene, derived from petroleum.

1.2. Why is it widely used?
PVC is a thermoplastic that can be easily molded when heated and returns to a solid state when cooled. This characteristic leads to its use in numerous products, from pipes to toys, including the pharmaceutical industry, construction, and packaging. In the field of digital printing, it is used in applications such as billboards, shop windows, promotional displays, decorative films, informational signs, and more.

2. What changes with PVC Free

2.1. More ecological production and decomposition
The process that makes PVC flexible and elastic, both for handling and application, involves the use of additives (plasticizers), and its decomposition releases large amounts of hydrogen chloride, all harmful to the environment. On the other hand, PVC Free films do not require plasticizers in their production and are highly recyclable.

2.2. End of plasticizer migration
The migration of plasticizers from PVC film to the surface interferes with ink adhesion during printing, leading, for example, to faded colors and images with poor clarity. Over time, other problems may arise, such as stains, discoloration, and yellowing, compromising the aesthetics and durability of the applications. Lamination can also be affected in terms of adhesion and detachment.

PVC Free films, being free of plasticizers, eliminate all these migration issues and allow printing on a wider variety of materials.

3. What doesn't change with PVC Free

3.1. Performance and durability
The concern that PVC Free films may have lower quality compared to PVC in Sign Graphics applications, especially in visual communication, is unfounded. In the early stages, the offer of PVC Free for printing and lamination was limited and presented restrictions, but the formulas of these sustainable films have evolved significantly. Nowadays, the mechanical properties of PVC Free films are comparable to most PVC solutions, and in some cases, they surpass them.

3.2. Competitiveness
The transition to PVC Free films is often hindered by the perception that eco-friendly products are much more expensive. This is true for some brands in the market, but there are others with sustainable ranges that allow companies to offer their customers an attractive ecological portfolio at competitive prices.

4. Benefits of PVC Free

4.1. Environment
PVC Free films contribute to reducing the carbon footprint, as their production and disposal emit fewer toxins into the environment, reducing the environmental impact.

4.2. Health
Phthalates, harmful organic compounds found in PVC products, are not present in PVC Free solutions. This makes them safer for both the workers in the production process and the end users.

4.3. Companies
Companies that offer ecological alternatives enhance their brand reputation by standing out in the market as agents of change. Not only through their internal environmental practices but also by promoting sustainability among their customers.

We share some tips on environmental best practices in companies:
          1. Choose suppliers certified for sustainability
          2. Use sustainable and safe materials
          3. Reduce waste during production
          4. Implement energy-saving measures
          5. Encourage recycling and upcycling
          6. Communicate through more ecological media

5. The Importance of changing

Throughout the sustainability journey, consumers have become more conscious, and more and more companies are opting for eco-friendly alternatives over PVC. In the visual communication market, this translates into applications with PVC Free films that offer high-quality results and are financially viable.

Today, it is possible to meet customer expectations with products that turn each print and lamination into a positive contribution to preserving the future. decal® has been committed to this cause since 2009, under the "Think Green" signature, and develops products that combine ecology, efficiency, and innovation.

Since then, we have created solutions for Sign Graphics that significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint, with the PVC Free range being the epitome of this work. A set of exclusive films developed for visual communication and decoration with the advantages of PVC and international certification for sustainability, quality, and safety.

Know more about our PVC Free range for printing and lamination.


1. What is PVC?
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, a type of thermoplastic used in a wide variety of products due to its easy malleability when heated.

2. Why are PVC Free films better for the environment?
The production and disposal of PVC Free films emit fewer harmful substances into the environment, reducing the carbon footprint.

3. Is the quality of PVC Free films inferior?
No, PVC Free films have evolved significantly, and currently, they offer high-quality printing, performance, and durability.

4. Are there challenges in transitioning to PVC Free films?
Challenges exist in the market, as many brands offer high prices and limited availability. However, this is not the case with decal®.