Recently I penned a scathing post about a move by the USDA to designate PVC as "organic vinyl". However, I didn't publish the post. Because, on double checking my sources, I discovered it was an April Fools joke. I'm therefore very pleased to have a positive (and factual) story in the same realm. Mountain Equipment Cooperative (MEC) in Canada have released a line of new transparent PVC-free drybags.MEC believe they are the only completely transparent PVC-free drybags available at a consumer level. Not only that, in selecting a 0.5mm thick clear polyurethane they're convinced the bags are also more flexible and more abrasion resistance than standard PVC drybags. Seams are made waterproof with radio frequency welding, whilst the base is reinforced with 800 denier polyurethane. The bags come in four sizes 5, 10, 20 and 30 litres to suit packing needs for a variety of water sports.
But what's the big deal with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), aka vinyl, anyhow you might be asking? I was going to answer that, but then noticed the MEC media release had got it down pretty succinctly:
It is viewed by many environmental and health organizations to be both carcinogenic and hazardous to the natural environment because of the harmful dioxins that are produced as a byproduct of the vinyl chloride manufacturing process and from the incineration of waste PVC in domestic garbage. Dioxins are considered by some to be a global health threat because they persist in the environment and can travel long distances. At very low levels, near those to which the general population is exposed, dioxins have been linked to immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, a variety of cancers and endometriosis.
This is not the first foray into PVC-free for MEC. They also have brightly coloured opaque PVC-free in their Brooks line. And they also designed a PVC-free PFD or Personal Floatation Device. Not to mention their many other green initiatives -- see links below.
[Aaagh, that last paragraph just suffered an acute attack of the dreaded TLA.]
Anyhow, back to MEC and PVC. Mark Kelly, product manager at Mountain Equipment Co-op, responsible for the development of the new PVC-Free transparent dry bags, is quoted as saying "Anytime we can manufacture a product with a material that reduces our impact on the environment and meets our stringent expectations for quality, performance, durability and value - we will."
::MEC Transparent PVC-free Drybags, via tip from Ben H.