There was a time when the term ‘eco-friendly’ brought to mind a lot of bland, boring and blah products. But no more! The world of sustainability has exploded in popularity over the last few years, and now there are some truly beautiful products out there made of entirely recycled or eco-friendly materials.
Including flooring. Eco-friendly flooring is designed to minimise the use of natural resources, maximise efficiency and be at least partially recyclable when you choose to replace it. There are a huge number of eco-friendly flooring options out there – some you’ve probably heard of before, and some that might be surprising.
Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
Bamboo: Bamboo is one of the most popular materials across the board in the eco-friendly world. This is mainly because, while bamboo is a natural product, it’s one of the most sustainable materials in nature. Bamboo absorbs 2x more carbon dioxide than trees (which has earnt it the name ‘the carbon sink’), it’s strong and durable, naturally anti-bacterial and creates paying jobs for local communities. It’s also the fastest growing plant on the entire planet, growing to full size in just 3-4 months and in the right conditions growing 3 feet tall in just 24 hours. So, you couldn’t run out of it if you tried! Bamboo flooring isn’t huge right now, but it is gaining in popularity as an alternative to wood floors. It’s light, available in a lot of different colours and grains (more so than traditional wood), and can work almost anywhere.
Lino: You might not think of it as particularly progressive, but that lino flooring in your parent’s bathroom is much more eco-friendly than you think. So while it fell a bit out of favour in the 1940’s when vinyl tiles came in, Lino is making a comeback with the eco-friendly movement. Lino is made from a mix of linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments and ground limestone – all sustainable and recyclable materials. With the new comeback we have a higher quality of lino, in a massive array of colours and styles, with better sealants to protect from staining, wear and tear.
Wool Carpets: We talked about the pros and cons of wool carpets in our last blog, and one of the pros was that wool carpets are eco-friendly. While synthetic and mixed carpets tend to include a lot of VOCs and non-recyclable materials, pure wool carpets are completely the opposite. Not only is wool carpet a favourite go-to in a lot of homes, they are sustainably made from a natural resource (wool) and spun into a thread that can dyed any colour imaginable, and woven to create a carpet. It was one of the first materials used as a floor covering, and will continue to be for a long time. There are other natural, sustainable materials used to make carpets too – including sisal, jute and cotton.
Can Carpets Be Recycled?
One of the best ways you can be eco-friendly is to recycle what you can, instead of send it to landfill. Carpet is no different. When you change your flooring and have leftover carpet, it almost certainly can be recycled. Depending on the fibre, your carpet can be broken down and used to make an entirely new product. Carpets are a challenge to recycle, so they will require specialist machinery to separate out the elements, but it can (and is) done.
Unfortunately when it comes to carpets, it’s not as simple as just chucking it in a recycling bin. There is a big lack of mainstream infrastructure for carpet recycling, which mean the process will vary case by case, and depend on what the carpet is made of and where you live. You can check with your local councils – as some will take carpets at their waste management centres for recycling, or you might have specialist dealers nearby who can help, or even take the carpets for you. Right now, we are still looking into carpet recycling in the Farnborough and Andover areas, and are always happy to help you out where we can.
At Floor 24, we are passionate about protecting the planet we live on. As a practice, we try to be as environmentally friendly as we can be, including choosing eco-friendly materials and suppliers, such as Kahrs – a company producing engineered wood and vinyl flooring in Sweden. Khars have their own forest, and for every tree they cut down they plant another 5. They also don’t add any extra chemicals into the manufacturing process, creating eco-friendly flooring from start to finish. We also encourage customers to recycle used flooring where possible, and running an eco-friendly business from the inside out.
If you’re interested in eco-friendly flooring, or would like to know more about what we do, just get in touch with us today.