Eco living comes of age Sustainable living with laminate flooring
9 July 2012
Healthy, sustainable living: consumer expectations of the homes they live in have changed a lot in recent years. With its environmental credentials and many other benefits, laminate flooring is the first choice for planners, architects and consumers alike. Striking in its natural look, this type of flooring is also excellent value for money. It fits seamlessly into the stylish, contemporary interiors that are becoming so popular. Sustainable living isn't just good for the planet – it's a style statement too.
But what is it that makes laminate flooring so sustainable? Is it the production method, the materials, the packaging? The materials used to make laminate flooring should have a minimal impact on global resources and energy consumption for production and logistics has to be low. The product is made exclusively from either wood sourced from sustainably managed domestic forests or recycled material from the timber industry. Decorative finishes are printed on certified paper with a high proportion of recycled material and natural water-based inks. Eco-friendly resins are used as the binder.
In addition to materials and manufacturing, packaging plays an important role in the sustainability of laminate flooring. Manufacturers who use recycled paper to make the boxes and recycle the packaging film can further add to the product's eco credentials. Product brochures printed on recycled paper also reflect in a visible way the industry's commitment to sustainability.
Focus on healthy living
Healthy living is a major trend. Laminate flooring manufactured in Europe is low-emission and far outperforms legal limits for formaldehyde and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). With their sealed surface, regularly cleaned floors are ideal for allergy sufferers and help to create a healthier indoor climate. The recommended air humidity is 35-55%.
The sustainability of laminate flooring is indicated by the Environmental Product Declarations, which are referred to by planners and architects to evaluate the eco status of a building. Most laminate flooring manufactured by EPLF members comes with this declaration and responds to new consumer awareness of sustainability issues.
But above and beyond environmental concerns, sustainability also means social responsibility. This includes working with local firms, getting involved in social projects, offering adequate pay, complying with health and safety standards, avoiding illegal employment and the use of child labour, and much more besides.
"More and more consumers are concerned about these issues. An irreversible change has taken place on the market. The European laminate flooring industry has responded in many ways and will do everything in its power to further promote sustainability. After all, in this day and age there's more to innovation than design and technology.
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