Vinyl Institute sees PVC growth in infrastructure as construction slows

Ned Monroe is president and CEO of the Vinyl Institute, a Washington-based trade group that represents the major US producers of vinyl (PVC), vinyl chloride monomer, and vinyl additives and modifiers.

The US vinyl industry includes nearly 3,000 manufacturing plants, over 350,000 employees and an overall economic value of $54 billion.

Monroe has led the VI since 2018. Her previous experience includes positions with SC Johnson and the National Association of Manufacturers. He recently took the time to share his thoughts on the issues currently affecting the vinyl market.

Q: What have been the biggest growth markets for PVC so far in 2022?

Monroe: The building and construction sector continues to be the largest market sector for PVC, with PVC pipe accounting for 47% of PVC resin produced in the United States, followed by fencing, decking, siding flooring and moldings (11%) and vinyl coverings (9%). ). The recent federal infrastructure funding, which provided $55 billion for water infrastructure funding, has contributed to the continued growth of the PVC pipe market.

Q: What impact does the market see from inflation and also higher interest rates, which could affect construction activity?

Monroe: Great question, and one the entire vinyl industry is watching. Inflation and higher interest rates have an impact on the marketing of housing. And with construction accounting for more than 70% of PVC use, any slowdown in residential or multi-family housing construction could have an impact.

However, federal infrastructure spending will mitigate any slowdown. Improving the country’s water infrastructure is a priority for the federal government over the next five years, and PVC pipe will play an important role in that effort. Additionally, vinyl siding, luxury vinyl flooring, and vinyl roofing are quality products that are often a first choice since they are affordable, more durable than competitors, and all products endure the same inflationary pressures.

Q: What new applications have the most potential for PVC?

Monroe: Our team is very excited about the opportunities offered by electric vehicles and charging stations. Several provisions of the recently passed federal Inflation Reduction Act include an increase in the manufacture and use of electric vehicles. The increased production will boost demand for PVC and other lightweight plastics, which are essential for the production of electric vehicles, but also form an integral part of the wiring conduit used in electric vehicle charging stations. Our vinyl recycling program is also generating a lot of buzz. Stay tuned.

Q: What other regulatory issues does the market face?

Monroe: We have to get the PVC MACT [maximum achievable control technology] rule finalized. The US PVC industry and the EPA have been working on this rule since September 2012, and 10 years later there is still no final decision or way forward to correct the problems with the rule of origin.

Why is this important? Without a new MACT PVC, the US PVC industry faces the challenge of building new facilities to meet the increased global consumer needs for quality PVC resin. In addition, the Vinyl Institute coordinates three testing consortia under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Working with industry and the Environmental Protection Agency, we ensure appropriate data safety to protect our workforce, communities and customers.

Q: Your expectations for 2023? Do you see demand stabilizing?

Monroe: I see continued growth for PVC resin in the United States. We manufacture the highest quality PVC in the world and continue to produce it at a competitive price due to the abundance of American natural gas. Also, as I mentioned, federal funding for improving our nation’s water infrastructure over the next five years will require quality PVC pipe. We see PVC pipe playing an important role in rebuilding our nation’s water and sewage lines.

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