Materials matter… so what are the
alternatives to PVC foamboard?

John Caswell

Design Engineer

Closed-cell PVC foamboard is the go-to material for most internal and some external signage. It’s cheap, light, easy to form, you can cut, drill and glue it and it’s nice and flat for printing on.

It does however have some drawbacks. Hot working it will produce noxious fumes containing hydrochloric acid and potentially dioxins. The other huge problem with it, is that it can only be recycled by sending it back to the manufacturer (something that rarely happens once out of a workshop waste management scheme). Here are 3 less toxic, more easily recyclable and sustainable alternatives.

DISPA (paper board)

If printed graphics are going to be internal, then a paper-based product is a much better option. DISPA by 3A Composites is made from 100% FSC certified paper and is 100% easily recyclable.

Pure Glue Eco Poplar Plywood

If you’re after a flat, strong and easily machinable material for graphics or internal signage then eco poplar plywood is a good option. The product is manufactured using an environmentally friendly adhesive formulated from resin and natural soy flour.

Green Cast (recycled acrylic)

Suitable for external use Green Cast is the world’s first and only 100% recycled cast acrylic sheet. Green Cast is made from waste acrylic scraps and is fully recyclable at end of life.

There are always more things to consider when making sustainable material decisions. Materials with low embodied carbon and minimising the transport of goods are some of the most important. With many options for all types of projects there’s no excuse not to use them.

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