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PVC?!? Seriously?!?

Oh, yeah.  I was a skeptic, too.  A few things are worth noting, though.

1) This stuff is cheap.  You can get started on a project for very little money.  Even advanced fabrication tools are reasonably priced.

2) This stuff is a global standard.  You can develop a system here that can be used in Japan just the same as Sub-Saharan Africa.  Instead of shipping a kit across the ocean, it can be acquired at low cost in raw form near the point of use.

3) It is infinitely recyclable.  Unfortunately, not much of that is happening right now, but as usage standards shift and knowledge of the environmental dangers of landfills gets further out, recycling programs will increase and standards will improve.

4) It is easy to clean and repurpose.  Existing PVC systems that have not been exposed to too harsh of conditions can be dismantled and put to different uses.

5) It is really easy to work with.  Even water-tight cementing can be effectively learned in minutes.  You can cut it with ratcheting shears.  Even children can learn the assembly process and be of truly valuable help. (though it is questionable whether you should have them involved in the actual cementing)

6) It was designed by committee (after two accidental discoveries) to be heated, reshaped and to cool back to its original strength.  This opens amazing doors to creative applications that cannot be done (or just don't look good) with straight pipe.

These qualify this material to assist us in improving the standard of living for everyone on this planet.  While other materials are available, none are quite so easy to work with on the do-it-yourself level.  Many systems that PVC project developers come up with also have self-evident principles in the design.  A person need only see a project to have an adequate idea of how it works.  This means a villager that goes to market in another town can see at a glance the concepts of a food production method that may be within his or his community's means.

This right here can do wonders in the developing world.

This could stimulate the viral progression of self-sufficiency around the world.

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