Consumers should avoid and boycott products manufactured with PVC or packaged in PVC. Look for these identifying symbols:
The manufacture and incineration of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) produces dioxin, a potent carcinogen and hormone disruptor, and also one of the most toxic substances known.
Many personal care products are bottled in PVC (#3). Read labels carefully, and choose products with fewer, simpler ingredients and sounder packaging, such as glass, plastics #1 or #2, or recycled aluminum.
Plastics that are less harmful are made of polyethylene and are known as PET (labelled #1) or HDPE (labelled #2). Look for the number on plastic packaging which is located inside the recycling symbol. And stay away from #3 or higher!
Plastic cannot really be recycled. It can only be "downcycled". Downcycled means that when a plastic bottle is melted down and sent to be re-processed it will not be made back into a plastic bottle, but instead will make up part of a lower grade plastic item such as a park bench or plastic pipe. New virgin plastic will be manufactured to make a new plastic bottle. Glass and aluminum in contrast can be recycled over and over again into the same product. And glass can even be reused many times over.
Remember to avoid plastic #3 or higher. And always follow the 3 Rs in this order:
PVC-Packaged Products to Avoid - Mother & Others
Greenpeace International : Toxics
PVC (Vinyl) Plastic: an evaluation of safety issues - Turner Toys
PVC PLASTICS AND DIOXIN - National Wildlife Federation
Dioxin Homepage - Enviroweb