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Can You Recycle Vinyl Flooring?

Mar 29, 2008
The big push in the flooring business today is how to address the growing issue of recycling. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of how their buying choices affect the environment both inside and outside their homes.

When it comes to flooring, industry, government and concerned citizens have begun to work together on ways to reduce the potential negative environmental consequence that comes from disposing of used flooring materials.

The short answer to the question of whether you can recycle used vinyl flooring is yes. Vinyl flooring products are no exception to the recycling movement and like many types of plastic products, strategies and methods for safely disposing of and reusing these materials are growing, often into profitable businesses.

There are two ways of looking at the recycling of vinyl flooring. One way is to consider how the disposal of used vinyl flooring can be accomplished in an environmentally friendly way. The other involves the decision to use vinyl flooring and whether the vinyl flooring product you choose contains a significant amount of recycle content. You can help reduce adverse effects on the environment by choosing to go as green as possible.

Vinyl flooring products like tile and sheet flooring have been around for many years and the chemical compounds used in the manufacturing of these products are not very green. The durability and the ease of installation make these products popular flooring choices for many people and can be used in a wide variety of locations around a home or business. Some of the environmental concerns about vinyl flooring begin at the very beginning of the products life cycle, the manufacturing process and end when the product is removed or replaced and discarded. In the middle, there are some environmental advantages to choosing vinyl flooring over carpet floor coverings.

Unlike carpet that can trap and hold dirt and bacteria, vinyl flooring, like other hard flooring products is easier to keep clean and sanitary than fabric floor coverings. In general, there are fewer chemicals needed to maintain modern vinyl flooring especially with the introduction of no wax floor finishes. So with the potential of less exposure to cleaning solutions and the problems that can be associated with properly disposing of waste cleaning solutions, vinyl flooring seems to have some significant advantages.

A significant environmental benefit can be realized from the growing practice of properly recycling or disposing of old vinyl flooring. The idea behind recycling is to keep used vinyl flooring out of the landfill and to prevent disposal methods like burning that can have very serious environmental and public health consequences. The increased availability of recycled material can be an incentive to manufacturers to increase the amount of recycled material used in the production of new vinyl flooring.

Linoleum was phased out several years ago but is making a comeback because it is easier and less hazardous to dispose of.

Before you recycle old vinyl flooring it may be necessary to know what type of material you are dealing with. Some products made with PVC or polyvinylchloride is not recyclable. A good idea might to be to check with your local flooring retailer for help in identifying what the old flooring is made of. Your local flooring retailer may also be able to advise you on proper disposal methods and the location of a recycling facility that will accept old vinyl flooring.

Many flooring retailers participate in a recycling program and might be willing to take the old flooring off of your hands. Some retailers may charge you a disposal fee, but the money could be well spent knowing that the old flooring is properly disposed of.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store FineWebStores.com.
Shop for Area Rugs and Bamboo Rugs for your home or office. Please visit FineWebStores.com today.
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