Sustainable Flooring Choices

More and more of us are becoming increasingly aware of the adverse impact our day to day choices can have on the environment. Driving the car, not recycling our waste and high gas and electricity use all contribute to an increase in CO2 emissions.

Advances in education and awareness mean many people are now much more environmentally aware and are looking for new and different ways to be more `green`.

One way to do this is to use sustainable flooring in your home. Sustainable floorings are basically products that are made using sustainable materials and also manufactured in a sustainable way, together reducing the pressure on the environment during their life-cycle.

The sustainability can take the form of non-intensive farming, disposal of waste, reforestation, biodegradability and air miles in transporting the product.

Before you start choosing and installing new flooring you first need to consider if you can re-use any of your existing flooring. Old wood or laminate could be cut down for shelving, for example.

Use a local recycling group to advertise any carpet, lino, tiles or laminate that you are replacing. It may well be that someone else will be able to make good use of it and in the process you minimise waste going to landfill.  For more ideas on how to recycle your old carpets visit Carpet Recycling UK who are a non-profit organisations working to reduce the amount of carpet being sent to landfill.

So what sustainable products are available? When it comes it deciding which sustainable flooring to use, the good news is that there is lots of choice and style definitely doesn`t need to be compromised by your decision to go for an environmentally friendly product.

Recycled and natural carpets are a good option. Wool is one of the ultimate sustainable materials and is 100% biodegradable when produced with natural jute backing. It has a soft, luxurious feel and is very resilient. You can also get carpets made from recycled food and drink containers and also recycled nylon.

To accompany your carpet you will also need underlay.  Felt underlay is the most environmentally friendly type of underlay.  It is made from either new or recycled wool and as such is biodegradable and sustainable.

Natural flooring made out of plant fibre, like sisal, jute, coir and seagrass are also a good alternative t0 synthetic fibre carpets.   These are made from plant fibres and as such quickly replenish itself after being harvested.   The only issue with these is that they are grown abroad and therefore generate a number of air miles in their transportation.

Linoleum is produced from linseed oil and plant materials including pine resins, ground cork and wood flour. All the materials are renewable and 100% biodegradable. Linoleum is very durable and any scrapes and dents can easily be buffed. It`s also fire resistant, non-slippery, easy to clean and waterproof making it a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms.  The leading brand of Linoleum flooring is Marmoleum, they offer sheet and tile products in a very wide range of styles.

Rubber flooring is another option, again from a renewable source – the rubber tree. It`s easy to look after and has the added bonus of providing good vibration reduction and sound insulation. Rubber has become more fashionable in recent times and is great for bathrooms, kitchens or areas that need to be cleaned regularly.

Timber flooring has become increasingly popular due to its classic beauty and durability, but chose products that have been produced sustainably. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo which guarantees the sustainability of the source forests and sound environmentally friendly practices all along the supply chain.

Whether you are motivated by the practical benefits or the `look` of your flooring, there are undeniably plenty of sustainable flooring options. When combined with a wide range of furniture from Forrest Furnishing you have all that you need for redesigning a room, or even a whole house.

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Take a look at our blog for a range of information about carpets, vinyls and wood flooring.