How Green is my Laminate?
We mean green as in environmentally friendly, and you know what? It is a pretty green product. Let us tell you why.
1. REUSE: No harvesting trees, and no quarrying stone
Your laminate flooring mimics a natural resource, such as wood, ceramic or stone, as opposed to actually using it. A laminate floor can look like wood species that are rare and exotic without depleting them. Most don’t deplete any trees at all, in fact. Tile and stone style laminates require no massive digging operations, and some find the laminate versions more comfortable to walk on.
Regardless of the manufacturer, laminate flooring is made of recycled materials. Rather than cutting down a tree, laminate manufacturers first use:
- sawdust from mills
- wood chips from log processing
- shavings from wood processing
The laminate manufacturing process even helps those industries generate less waste. And only when necessary is this supplemented with lumber, and that which is used is plentiful, sustainable and easily renewable, species like pine, oak, etc. Not only is there harvesting of old growth forests, but with what is taken, close to 100% of the tree is utilized. There is just overall less waste of trees with laminate flooring.
2. REDUCE: Less chemicals used to produce and install
The method used to bind the layers of most laminate flooring together involves heat and pressure. Not chemicals. For the image layers, most companies use water based inks, which are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
Because most laminate flooring utilizes mechanical locking systems, tools and chemicals which could affect air quality are kept to a minimum. These locking systems also render laminate easily repairable without lifting or repairing a whole floor. One can just deal with an individual plank. That’s part of what gives laminate its longevity. Since it can stay down for so long, we get to conserve the resources that would be needed to make any replacement flooring.
3. RECYCLE: No need for landfills
What if do you replace the floor for merely decorative reasons? Haven’t we blown one of the three R’s? No, because your floor can be picked up… and reused! Some have done this three times with the same flooring. Put it in a different room, give it to a friend, or donate it to Habitat For Humanity.
Even if you do pull up a floor because it has outlived use, the dismantled boards can be ground up for agricultural uses, or even put back into the laminate production process. There is almost no reason for any laminate product to wind up in a landfill.
Laminate already provides tremendous value for money. As an added key benefit, it also can have zero negative environmental impact. And the things that make it environmentally friendly also help make it hypoallergenic. Being free of solvents and other harsh chemicals makes laminate one of the floors that least aggravates asthma and allergies.
What about “Green Core” laminate flooring?
Here is what we have been able to determine about this stuff. The core board of a Green Core Laminate is, compositionally, exactly the same as the core of a regular laminate. Except for the green coloring. It is colored green because people want green products, and because it was once believe that these cores were more moisture resistant than normal cores. They are not.
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David is has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with W. David Lichty
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