Depending on your location, you may be able to recycle vinyl fencing. Just know, it is not an easy process as it is not the best option for the environment.
Vinyl fencing can be recycled, but your local recycler may not take it. This is because vinyl is a type of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is difficult to recycle and the process is harmful to the environment. Instead, an easier option would be to advertise your fence online for someone to reuse.
What Is Vinyl?
Vinyl is PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride or plastic #3, which is the third most-produced plastic world-wide. About 40 tons of PVC is produced each year!
PVC was first created in the 1800s, with PVC pipes being used for the first time in Germany in the 1930s. PVC, or Vinyl, fencing has been in use since the 1970s. At first, the only design available was the “ranch rail” and it was usually only used on farms and pastures. Today, vinyl fencing is found everywhere and comes in all sorts of designs and colors.
Vinyl is versatile and long-lasting, which is why it is a common material in construction appliances, such as fencing. Vinyl is strong, resistant to water, and is easy to clean.
Two different processes can be used to recycle PVC. These two processes are called Mechanical Recycling and Feedstock Recycling.
Mechanical Recycling is the most common process for recycling. In this process. the PVC is ground into small particles and then washed. The washed particles are then passed through a floatation separation and then dried. After they have dried, these small particles are melted down and then remolded into a new product.
Using this process on plastics creates micro-plastics that can get into our water and food. This is especially dangerous when concerning PVC because of the highly toxic chemicals it contains.
Feedstock Recycling involves a few different processes such as pyrolysis, hydrolysis, and heating to turn PVC waste into smaller chemical components. These components are used to turn the PVC into a new product.
Will My Recycling Center Take My Fence?
Finding out if your city will recycle your vinyl fence can be as easy as looking at your city’s website. Your municipal will probably refer to vinyl as plastic #3. If you cannot find any information about recycling on your city’s website, go ahead and give them a call.
If your city cannot recycle your vinyl fence, check out this source. This link will take you to a recycling directory provided by Vinyl Institute. This directory will help you find vinyl recyclers near you that may take your vinyl fence.
What If I Can’t Recycle Vinyl Near Me?
If you cannot find anyone near you that will recycle your vinyl fence and you really don’t want to throw it away, there are a couple of other options for you. You could try selling it. Try posting it on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and see if someone nearby wants your fence. There seems to always be someone interested in upcycling.
You could also try donating it to a local humanitarian aid organization or thrift store. It might seem odd to donate a fence, but you never know who might benefit from it.
Other Fencing Options
Maybe you are looking into what kind of fence you want and after reading this article, vinyl is not looking so appealing. There are other types of fencing that are much more eco-friendly if that is what you are looking for. Try looking into these options:
- Bamboo Fencing
This option can be a bit pricy, but it’s easy to install and requires very little maintenance. This is a great option if you are against getting a wood fence because bamboo is actually a grass and grows about three feet a day. And yes, it can be recycled.
- Composite Fencing
This fencing is made of over 90% recycled material, including wood and plastic. It’s incredibly versatile and can be quite elegant. It’s durable, long-lasting, and requires very little maintenance. On the downside, it is prone to weathering and moisture damage, so it’s probably not the best option if you live somewhere where it rains a lot.
- Living Fences
These are fences made of actual plants, such as privacy hedges. This is the most eco-friendly option when it comes to fencing because you are only contributing to the environment. Though this option does require a lot of maintenance, this is a great option for you if you love seeing nature when you look out your window. You can also take pride in knowing that your fence is turning CO2 into Oxygen. No recycling involved!
- Western Red Cedar Fences
This option is very responsible source wood. Harvested from a closely monitored forest by the British Columbia Forest Ministry, they only harvest 1% of the forest. This wood has a warm and beautiful color, while also being strong and durable. It requires little maintenance and is very sustainable. This fence could easily be recycled or reused.
- Reclaimed Wood Fences
This is where reusing wood comes in. If you manage to get your hands on some old wood, such as old planks, you can make a beautiful rustic fence. Try searching lumber yards or a local home improvement store.
You can even sand the wood down and stain it to make it look brand new. The only con to this option is that a reclaimed wood fence can take lots of maintenance.
If You Can Recycle Vinyl Near You
If you do have the option to recycle vinyl near you, then vinyl really is a great choice for fencing.
Vinyl is extremely durable and strong, meaning it has great weather resistance. It is also great if you have a pet who’s known for breaking fences. Vinyl fence is also the most versatile fence option. It comes in an unlimited number of design options and can come in any color. You can even get vinyl that looks like wood.
If you have a recycler near you who will take your vinyl fence, then it could be the best option for you. Different types of fencing offer their own pros and cons, so it boils down to personal preference when it comes to choosing a fence. Your fence won’t last forever, so considering what you will do long term when it wears down is important.