As the world population grows, resources diminish. It has become very important that manufacturers of all kinds develop and promote sustainable products. Over the last decade, floor covering manufacturers have certainly carried their weight. To be considered “sustainable,” a floor covering must be produced by natural materials and by a sustainable process. The goal is to reduce the footprint on ecosystems and, at the same time, provide healthier buildings. Eco-friendly surfaces are the wave of the future. A few of the most popular types of sustainable flooring are:
Linoleum: Most people don’t know linoleum is a “green” product. Composed of all natural material, this floor covering is often recommended for people with asthma and allergies. Made from flax seed, pine resin, wood flour and ground cork, linoleum also has a jute backing. All the material used to make this flooring comes from a renewable source and the end product is biodegradable. Because the color pigments are embedded in the tile, it won’t fade and it’s naturally fire resistant without requiring an additional fire retardant finish.
Natural and Recycled Carpet: Natural and recycled carpet has been on the market for quite some time. Fibers like cotton, sisal, wool, jute and even coconut husks are used to create today’s sustainable carpet. Old synthetic carpet made of nylon are staying out of landfills and making it into the mix through recycling. Companies like Shaw are trailblazers in the recycling world. According to Shaw, “When reclaimed material can’t be recycled into new carpet, it can also be diverted for reuse in carpet cushion, erosion and sediment control products and engineered resins that are used to produce injection molded plastic automobile parts. Since 2006, Shaw has reclaimed an average of approximately 100 million pounds of post-consumer carpet per year.”
Rubber: Rubber floors are made from synthetic rubber making them impervious to water, extremely resilient, stain resistant and designed to stand up to very heavy traffic. Rubber floors used to be mainly affiliated with gymnasiums and matting, but the manufacturing base has expanded. Leading players in the industry have created more attractive alternatives for general commercial and even home use.
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