World Water Day 2017: Plastics to preserve water
Every year on 22 March, the United Nations (UN) celebrate World Water Day
as "a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources”.
Many may not
be aware, but plastics play a crucial role in preserving water. Indeed, on a
daily basis, we all rely on a safe and constant supply of drinking water.
Sustainable water transportation, even over long distances, needs to be
leak-free, avoiding corrosion, soil or bacterial contamination. Pipes
transporting water need to have durable
sealing, be easy and quick to install, while being corrosion resistant and having
a long service life. Plastic pipes meet all these requirements.
Photo: ©MOLECOR TECNOLOGÍA, S.L.
It is estimated that in Europe
about 25% of the drinking water leaks – unused – in the underground. The
situation is similar with sewage with about 1/3 of the sewage network damaged.
For this reason, the reliability of the material plays a decisive role in the
modernisation or new installation of drinking water and wastewater pipes. This
is one of the main reasons why nowadays plastics are the material of choice
when it comes to water pipes. Plastic pipes are more flexible and more
resistant, leaks on connecting pieces can almost be excluded and, they often
can be used for more than 100 years.
Plastic pipes also have an
amazing eco-footprint: from production, to laying, to recycling at the end of their
use phase, they on average use 1,000 g of polypropylene for pipe production and
only about 1,005 g of starting materials - it can hardly be done more
efficiently. The processing takes place at low temperatures, usually well below
200 degrees centigrade.
Trenchless laying techniques
reduce costs and reduce traffic restrictions thanks to smaller construction
sites and short construction times. Further alternative methods for the laying
of plastic pipework such as mechanical ploughing further reduce intrusion into
nature. In addition, plastic pipes are fully recyclable. Already since 1994 an
industrial collection and recycling system for plastic pipe materials exists, providing
a high-quality secondary raw material for a sensible secondary use.
More information on Plastics and
Water can be found in our brochure "Plastics to preserve water