2 Fantastic Alternatives to LVT Flooring
In recent years Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) has seen a surge in popularity, due to its affordability, versatility, and ease of maintenance. Many people will have heard of popular LVT brands such as Amtico and Karndean.
However what consumers may be less aware of is the potential environmental impact of this type of plastic based flooring, despite some of the sustainability claims of the brands themselves. As we all become increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of our choices, it’s essential to explore more sustainable flooring alternatives.
In this article, we’ll discuss the negative environmental impacts of LVT and highlight two more eco-friendly options: cork flooring and laminate flooring.
The Environmental Impact of LVT
- PVC Content: LVT is primarily made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic known for its harmful environmental effects. The production and disposal of PVC releases toxic chemicals, such as dioxins, which can have severe and long lasting health and environmental consequences.
- Non-Sustainable: LVT is derived from petroleum. These finite fossil fuels cannot be replenished or regrown. Therefore as a product it is entirely unsustainable.
- Non-Biodegradable: LVT is non-biodegradable, which means that it doesn’t break down naturally over time. This leads to an accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, contributing to our global plastic pollution crisis.
- High Energy Consumption: The manufacturing process of LVT is energy-intensive. It involves extracting and refining petroleum, which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.
- Short Lifespan: While LVT is durable, it may not last as long as some other flooring options. This means it may need to be replaced more frequently, increasing the demand for raw materials and adding to the waste problem.
- Misleading Guarantees: Many LVT ranges will have very long Guarantees including “lifetime”. However very few people will keep the same flooring for their entire lifetime, and will replace it well before the guarantee period expires.
- Limited Recycling Options: Unlike some flooring materials that can be recycled or upcycled, LVT has limited recycling options. Once it reaches the end of its life, it often ends up in a landfill.
Now, let’s shift our focus to two sustainable and environmentally friendly flooring alternatives: cork flooring and laminate flooring.
Cork flooring is an excellent choice for those who are environmentally conscious. Here are some of its eco-friendly characteristics:
- Renewable Resource: Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. The trees aren’t cut down during this process, and they can continue to regenerate, making cork a highly renewable resource.
- Biodegradable: Cork is a natural material and is biodegradable. This means that when it’s no longer useful as flooring, it can decompose naturally, leaving no long-lasting environmental impact.
- Energy-Efficient Production: The manufacturing process of cork flooring is energy-efficient compared to the production of LVT. Cork tiles are made by grinding cork bark and then compressing it using heat and pressure, with minimal waste.
- Insulation Properties: Cork has excellent insulation properties, which can help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling.
- Allergen and Toxin-Free: Cork is naturally resistant to pests and molds, eliminating the need for chemical treatments that can be harmful to human health and the environment.
- Very Low VOC Emissions: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals released in the air and can result in poor indoor air quality which may be damaging to health. Cork has very low VOC emissions and all our cork ranges have been awarded the highest rating A+ on the stringent French “Emissions dans l’air intérieur” test.
- Durability: While cork flooring might require proper maintenance and sealing to prevent damage, it can last for decades, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
- Various Style Options: Whilst the look of natural cork is very popular, cork can also me made to look like real wood planks. If you would prefer the wood effect look, check out our Inspire Wood Effect Cork range.
Laminate flooring is another eco-friendly alternative to LVT. Here’s why it’s a sustainable choice:
- Sustainable Wood Sources: Many laminate flooring products use wood from sustainably managed forests. Look for certifications such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to ensure responsible sourcing.
- Recycled Content: Many laminate flooring products incorporate recycled timber and offcuts from other industries, reducing the demand for new raw resources.
- Low VOC Emissions: High-quality laminate flooring often has very low VOC emissions, which means it won’t release harmful chemicals into your home. Our laminates all score A+ on the French Emissions dans l’air intérieur test.
- Longevity: Laminate flooring is known for its durability, making it a long-lasting option. This reduces the frequency of replacements and the environmental impact associated with manufacturing and disposing of flooring materials.
- Easy Maintenance: Laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain, reducing the need for harsh chemicals or cleaning agents.
- Recyclable: While not all laminate flooring can be recycled, some products can be repurposed or recycled at the end of their life, diverting waste from landfills.
Comparing Cork and Lamiante as Alternatives to LVT
- Sustainability: Both cork and laminate flooring are more sustainable alternatives to LVT. They are made from renewable or responsibly sourced materials, reducing the strain on natural resources.
- Biodegradability: Cork is biodegradable, making it a top choice for eco-conscious consumers. Laminate, on the other hand, contains synthetic components that may not be as environmentally friendly when it comes to disposal.
- Durability: Both cork and laminate are durable and if looked after will last a very long time. Most ranges will have guarantees ranging from 10 years – lifetime.
- Health and Indoor Air Quality: Cork and laminate are known for their low VOC emissions, promoting better indoor air quality compared to LVT, which may release harmful chemicals.
- Maintenance: Cork and laminate are easy to clean and maintain, often only requiring the use of natural based cleaning products to keep looking good.
In an era where sustainability and environmental responsibility are paramount, choosing the right flooring for your home or business is crucial. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) has gained popularity due to its affordability and versatility, but its negative environmental impacts are cause for concern. Sustainable alternatives to LVT like cork and laminate flooring offer eco-friendly options that not only reduce our carbon footprint but also provide numerous other benefits.
By selecting cork or laminate flooring, you are making a conscious choice to support renewable resources, reduce waste, and contribute to a healthier indoor environment. These alternatives are not only environmentally responsible but also practical, durable, and stylish, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to make a positive impact on the planet while enhancing their living or working space.
As consumers, we have the power to influence the market and promote sustainable practices. Choosing sustainable flooring options is a small but significant step towards a more environmentally responsible future. So, when it’s time for your next flooring project, consider cork or laminate as an alternative to LVT and help make a positive change for our planet.