Is vinyl flooring sustainable?

by Madelein
Is vinyl flooring sustainable?

According to Polyflor’s latest sustainability report, vinyl floors are worth considering as a sustainable flooring material. Even though the built environment’s insiders recognise modern vinyl’s value and significant benefits, the poor reputation of the original vinyl-type products, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plastic still lingers. The sustainability report not only busts myths around vinyl, it also helps architects and contractors to allay any concerns or misconceptions that their clients may have on the topic.

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach to sustainability was introduced by John Elkington in 1994. It refers to a business model developed to encourage environmental and social responsibility together with sustainability among businesses worldwide, minimising impact on the planet while still considering the people in the company and surrounding community as well as required profitability. The three pillars of the Triple Bottom Line approach are Planet, People and Profit.

When assessing any product, including flooring products, you need to understand:
• The cradle-to-grave impact of that product
• The manufacturer’s contribution to the sustainability of its people and the surrounding community
• The manufacturer’s economic sustainability

Because the manufacturer and each product’s individual specifications affect the TBL of a company, Polyflor is only qualified to provide a TBL analysis of their own vinyl products. Some of the green advantages of Polyflor’s vinyl flooring include:
1. No harmful chemicals: Polyflor follows the strictest industry regulations, ensuring no harmful substances such as formaldehyde, lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium are included in their vinyl.
2. VOC free adhesives: The company’s floorcoverings are installed using solvent-free adhesives, apart from their ranges that do not require adhesive at all.
3. Safe for people to use: Polyflor products offer gold-standard indoor-air quality and sustainable slip-resistant safety floors. They are fire retardant and water resistant.
4. Recycling: Polyflor initiated the first vinyl take-back scheme of its kind in South Africa towards the end of 2016 and to date the company has collected just over 7 tonnes of material. Polyflor was awarded the “Innovation in PVC Recycling Award” by the Southern African Vinyl Association (SAVA) in June 2017.
5. Focusing on people: Polyflor is completely committed to its people and they advocate “care” as one of their core values. The company encourages learning and growth and strives to create an environment based on mutual respect and reward. Polyflor is also heavily involved in the development of the Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA).

The future of sustainable flooring
The future of sustainable flooring is exciting because innovation peaks when necessity is at its greatest. With global warming, diminishing resources and an ever-growing population, innovation is a critical factor if we are to sustain our planet.

There is even the possibility that flooring in the future may help harvest energy by collecting energy from the up and down movement of people walking on floors and transferring it – via springs, pumps and wires – to electrical devices nearby. This concept is already on trial in the USA.

Polyflor will continue to strive to remain at the forefront of development, technology and the sustainable development of flooring.

For more information, visit www.polyflor.co.za, email marketing@polyflor.co.za or call +27 (11) 609 3500 to speak to Blythe or Wendy.

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