THE BAD NEWS
Often used in computer wires, cable enclosures and packaging, PVC plastic contains unsafe dioxins that can poison the air (and people) if it burns. The existence of PVC in computers can be determined by the presence of a “3,” “PVC” or “V” either inside or beneath the recycling symbol.
THE GOOD NEWS
Microsoft has eliminated PVC in packaging for products such as Microsoft Office. This effort alone is expected to save more than 1.6 billion pounds of PVC in the next two years. Microsoft has turned to various PVC alternatives, such as polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET) and even some options made from cornstarch, sugar and vegetable oil.
MORE GOOD NEWS
Microsoft joins other electronics companies that have either completely eliminated PVC from their packaging or are in the process of phasing it out. These include Apple Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Samsung and Sharp.