Why plastic is no longer an alternative piping material

We have all seen the effect plastic has on our everyday lives, from plastic containers to automobile parts. But what many people don’t realise is what a considerable impact plastic has had on our daily lives in ways that we can’t see. Life, as we know it now, would not be possible without our intricate piping systems. Although the original material of choice for pipes was concrete, businesses have moved away from concrete to make plastic the piping material of choice.

Benefits of plastic pipes

Plastic pipes are made specifically out of HDPE and PVC since they are:

  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Resistant to environmental stress
  • Leak-resistant
  • Corrosion-resistant

Plastic pipes also have extended lifetimes for up to 100 years, meaning the pipe systems would not need to be replaced often.

Why plastic has become the go-to material

Plastic piping is used across a vast range of sectors, including mining, civil irrigation, industrial, telecommunication, and building. Plastic SA estimates that in South Africa alone, around 150 000 tons of plastic pipes are produced every year. To put that into perspective, that translates to about 1000km of pipeline systems.

Due to the durable and the leak and corrosion-resistant nature of plastic pipes, they have become the go-to for serving water supplies to the residents of South Africa as well as for sewage disposal. Because of South Africa’s water scarcity and inconsistent rainfall patterns, we cannot afford to have any leaking pipes within our piping systems. It is the leak-resistant appeal of plastic piping that makes it the most effective material for our pipe systems. The fact that HPDE and PVC are also suitable for the rehabilitation of pipelines means that massive amounts of money will not need to go into replacing old pipes, they are able to simply be rehabilitated.

Plastic piping has also grown worldwide to make up over 50% of the piping systems. It is for this reason that plastic is no longer considered an alternative material for piping, it is now the dominant material.

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