You may not be inclined to think of vinyl flooring as an eco-friendly material. After all, it’s manufactured rather than sourced naturally. But as with most products, it really depends on the source of the vinyl, and on how it’s created. You might be surprised to know that in many cases, vinyl can be the most environmentally-responsible choice, as well as the most cost-effective one.
Here are some of the reasons why responsibly-produced vinyl flooring scores high for eco-friendliness:
- Durability. Unlike more fragile products, quality vinyl flooring is extraordinarily durable. It can last decades longer than other flooring products, and therefore doesn’t need to be replaced often.
- Indoor air quality. Some companies produce vinyl flooring that meets stringent standards regarding VOC emissions, making it safe for every type of use. Look for products that support a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit in this category.
- Manufacturing process. Responsible companies use safer components in the manufacture of vinyl flooring. For example, leading companies have switched from DENP, a softener that is suspected to have endocrine disrupting properties, to safer DINP.
- Maintenance. Unlike many products, most vinyl flooring requires merely mild soap and water to keep it clean and attractive. No harsh chemicals are needed to seal or clean it.
- Recyclable. Many types of vinyl flooring are 100% recyclable, and the growth of vinyl recycling programs ensures that a large percentage of used vinyl is reused or recycled.
And of course, conscientious manufacturers of vinyl flooring use recycled vinyl content. Better products contain more than 5% post-consumer waste, and up to 20% recycled content. The vinyl industry has developed many programs to help ensure that a large percentage of used vinyl is recycled. One example is the rise of product take-back programs, where used products can be returned to the manufacturer to be recycled into the same product. The umbrella organization Vinyl Info (Vinyl Institute) says that millions of pounds of post-consumer vinyl are recycled each year, and that “more than 99 percent of all manufactured vinyl compound ends up in a finished product, due to widespread post-industrial recycling.”
Safety and Design Options for Public Spaces
Vinyl tiles are the top choice for many builders and designers for many different reasons, including cost and durability. But another advantage of vinyl tiles is safety. Recent technological advances include glass bead surfacing that provides a slip-resistant surface, even when wet. This process also helps to make the flooring attractive and stain resistant.
New technology that allows tiles to be printed in high resolution and full color means that design options for this type of flooring are virtually infinite. Capture the warmth of natural wood without the expense and maintenance by choosing a vinyl tile with ultra-realistic woodgrain appearance, or work with a company such as LSI Floors to create a modern, cool, and fun look for your project. Better manufacturers also do custom work, incorporating a logo, a recurring image, or a mural with special meaning, into the floor design. Tiles are also available in various shapes and sizes so that you can arrange them in geometric patterns, or intersperse them with carpet tiles to marry soft and hard surfaces.
Discover the many advantages of recycled vinyl flooring today!