Ecological Impact and The Use of Sustainable Products with Resilient and Textile Flooring

lvt office flooring

Times have changed and there is now a major drive across all sectors and industries in the UK to be more aware and proactive towards the ecological impact their product may have and a higher demand for the use of sustainable products within all settings. Unfortunately, historically the commercial flooring industry has not been the most sustainable or ‘eco-friendly’, due to the production requirements to create a long lasting contract flooring solution, but with changes in regulations and technology plus manufacturers innovations creating new, more sustainable and ‘eco-friendly’ products, what has been done so-far within the commercial flooring industry to try and address these very current issues?


In 2010 it was estimated that around 600,000 tonnes of flooring materials in the UK made it to landfill with only 2% of all materials being diverted and recycled. Fast forward to 2018 and figures obtained from Carpet Recycling UK show that 172,252 tonnes of carpet waste alone was reused, recycled or recovered for energy. This is clearly a big jump in the right direction, and with other flooring types following the same pattern, appears to be exceptionally good news. Companies such as industry backed Recofloor who are championing their vinyl take-back scheme and EnviroCycle London who allow for the collection, recycling and reuse of carpet tiles, these companies are creating an easier system much better organised to deal with the waste and recycling of flooring products.


Big steps have also been taken by the major flooring manufacturers to create better, more sustainable flooring products with a lower carbon footprint from production to delivery. Companies such as Tarkett/Desso who are using their innovative ‘Cradle to Cradle’ circular life cycle system, to create more sustainable products, with a reduced carbon footprint and allows for the reuse and recycling of their products, Forbo who are using renewable energy and have created a wide range of sustainable products such as their Marmoleum, made from 97% raw materials and which is 100% biodegradable, their vinyl product backings containing 60% recycled materials and their Tessera carpet tiles being made from 58% recycled materials or Interface, who in 1994 set the challenge to have zero environmental impact by 2020 and have achieved their ambitious ‘Mission Zero’ commitment and are now able ‘to sell all product as carbon neutral across their life cycle’. Commercial flooring manufacturers are leading the way in innovation to create a more ‘eco-friendly’ and sustainable future within the construction industry.

Adhesives and Levelling Compounds

Whilst recycling and product manufacture are two big factors in the ecological impact and sustainability within the flooring industry, you cannot forget about the impact that adhesives and levelling compounds will play. Whilst some adhesives still contain volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as the majority of contact adhesives, many of the most commonly used flooring adhesives are now completely VOC free with many ‘eco-friendly’ ranges available. There is also a trend for more ecologically friendly self-levelling compounds to be used, with many on the market no which can offer much lower emissions of VOC’s. Companies such as Mapei and Instarmac have clear sustainability reports and set targets, whilst F. Ball have teamed up with Recofloor to make available recycling of all their bottles and buckets.

There is a lot of work being done by flooring manufacturers across the board to ensure the flooring industry are quickly becoming leaders in providing a sustainable and ecologically friendly framework to work to within the construction industry, helping suppliers and contractors meet their own environmental goals, and to create a better, more sustainable and ecologically industry for us to work within.

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