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Green Lights

Here are some of the growing number of flooring products meeting tougher environmental standards:

Altro supplied XpressLay safety flooring for St John’s Primary School in Kent for a colourful new entrance area and corridor.

Altro XpressLay is designed as an adhesive-free safety floor which can be taken up post-installation for re-use or recycling, making it suitable for temporary installations.

The product has an underside emboss that forms tiny air channels that allow any moisture in the subfloor to escape, which makes it possible to install over existing sound and secure flooring surfaces such as vinyl tiles.

Supplied with free Altro Looselay double sided tape formulated to work with the underside of the flooring, XpressLay can also be installed where adhered safety flooring is inappropriate, such as historical and listed buildings.

With a thickness of 2.2mm and a slip resistance rating of equal to or over 36 TRRL, the flooring is described as durable and practical, suitable for areas of general circulation such as school corridors, classrooms, hospital streets and shops.

Being 100% recyclable, XpressLay also contributes to reducing the environmental impact of a flooring specification with an A+ BRE Generic Green Guide Rating for Safety Flooring.

The entrance to St John’s Primary now features coloured circles that replicate the Olympic rings with the words Corridor of Champions in the centre. In an area used as a dropping-off point by parents, the flooring is inlaid with a compass image and a barometer created using Altro Suprema II alongside coloured weather symbols inserted into the corridor floor.

Fila is to launch its MP90 sealant in a new solvent-free formulation, part of Fila’s Green Line. New Fila MP90 Eco is described as a penetrating stain proofer for polished porcelain, ceramics, polished natural stone, terrazzo and crackle-glaze tiles. Like all Fila Green Line products, it has been developed with the environment in mind, but is said to offer ‘uncompromised performance and versatility’.

It is LEED-compliant and suitable for use on food contact surfaces. Fila MP90 ECO can also be applied both internally and externally – with some residual moisture – so offers a further benefit in terms of application time.

The product is said to have a very low VOC content, is non film-forming and will not alter the natural surface colour. The ready-to-use, water based treatment is applied undiluted with a flat brush or lambswool applicator onto a clean, dry surface. Excess product should be removed from porous materials after 10 minutes, using a floor polishing machine with a white pad. On less porous surfaces, product should be left to penetrate for approx. four hours.

Fila MP90 Eco is designed to seal, protect and promote easy maintenance. It can also be used on surfaces requiring weather and anti-graffiti protection. It is available in 250ml, one litre and five litre containers. One litre of product is claimed to provide around 30sq m coverage on stone and 30-40sq m coverage on porcelain.

InstaFloor says its InstaLay, in addition to being a high performance acoustic underlay, is a sustainable green product manufactured from rubber crumb granules recovered from worn truck and car tyres and bonded with a latex agent rather than polyurethane.

As it is illegal in the UK and other European countries to send worn tyres to landfill, this is an environmentally friendly way of re-using these tyres. InstaLay is described as a genuine ‘cradle to cradle’ product that can be recycled repeatedly, without losing integrity or quality or being ‘down-cycled’ to ultimately become waste. Every 1000sq m of InstaLay recycles approximately 66 truck tyres or 400 car tyres.

Self-adhesive InstaLay is also said to have excellent acoustic properties, while also reducing subfloor preparation and cutting or eliminating the need for wet adhesives and open times, speeding up the installation of wood floors, carpet, carpet tiles, sheet vinyl and LVTs to save time and money.

Interface and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) conservation charity to complete a pilot project and start of a commercial venture with both conservation and socio-economic benefits. The collaboration, called Net-Works, was created to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.

By establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded nets, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with a source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles. Discarded nets on the beaches or in the sea harm the environment and marine life. But, most nylon from these fishing nets is the same material used to make carpet yarn.

After conducting research and working closely with local communities and NGOs, Net-Works established the infrastructure to collect the fishing nets, gathering one tonne (1,000kg) of nets in the first month – and substantially cleaning up the beaches in four local communities near Danajon Bank, a threatened coral reef in the Philippines. Operations are now scaling up, with the intention of developing commercial carpet tiles incorporating the collected nets later this year.

Collection systems are being set up in 15 local villages, involving more than 280 impoverished households (equivalent of 1,400 people based on an average household size of five) whose income is typically less than £100 a month.

Nigel Stansfield, chief innovation officer at Interface says, ‘The fishing nets have nylon that can be recycled directly back into our carpet tiles, which will help us reduce our use of virgin raw materials and, critically, create livelihood opportunities for local communities. We are now looking forward to expanding operations and delivering the first carpet tiles from our collaboration.’

Interface and ZSL are exploring opportunities to expand their partnership to other parts of the world and to develop a toolkit to help other groups and organisations establish Net-Works supply hubs.

Interface pledged in the mid-nineties to eliminate its impact on the environment by 2020. Known as Mission Zero, it influences every aspect of the business and inspires the company to continually push the boundaries to achieve its goal. The company is now more than half way to reaching Mission Zero and has been widely recognised for its achievements to date.

Kährs has introduced a new range of 10mm one-strip wood floors. Available in a variety of wood grains and surface finishes, Kährs Spirit Range includes the Rugged Collection and Unity Collection, each developed with the environment in mind. All floors feature Kährs multi-layered construction and incorporate an EcoCore – and provide a range of affordable surface options in both rustic and chic contemporary designs.

Crafted from sustainable timber, the two Collections offer 11 new designs. The Rugged Collection is crafted from rustic grained timber and have a micro-bevelled edge and handscraped surface finish. The range includes five oak floors and one walnut design, each offered with individual oil prefinishes. The Unity Collection has a more even wood grain, a prominent bevelled edge and a brushed surface. Each of the five designs – also in oak and walnut – are offered with a matt lacquer prefinish, in a spectrum of tones – from palest Oak Arctic to smoky-toned Oak Cliff. All floors measure 1200 x 125 x 10mm.

The Spirit Range has a multi-layered construction with EcoCore, a fibreboard core material sitting between a veneer base and a hardwood surface layer.

This design, in combination with glueless Woodloc joint, is designed to provide greater stability and eliminate gapping throughout the lifetime of the floors. All floors come with a 20-year guarantee and can be installed floating or bonded.

Mapei says its heavy investment in research and development has led to the Green Innovation programme to assist in the selection of more sustainable products from its range.

Within its resilient and textile flooring products, Mapei offers a choice of solvent-free, water-dispersed non-flammable and low VOC adhesives for all requirements without any compromise to the high quality performance of the system.

To secure the wide variety of floorcoverings available, its Ultrabond Eco adhesives are designed to successfully bond all types of carpet, linoleum, PVC, vinyl and rubber to varying subfloors.

Ultrabond Eco range is described as non-staining and carries the EC1 GEV Emicode labelling for ultra-low emissions of volatile organic compounds. This accreditation ensures that installers who work in close proximity to the products aren’t subjected to any harmful gasses emanating from adhesives.
Ultrabond Eco adhesives are individually designed to give high yield, and yet demonstrate high initial grab where required.
Osmo supplies Taylor adhesives claimed to be the only MS glue product that is Greenguard approved. Greenguard certification identifies interior products and materials with low chemical emissions to improve air quality and minimal odour. It verifies that manufacturers supply sustainable products.

Available exclusively from Osmo UK, Taylor’s range of MS adhesives are reportedly the only glue products of their type to have been granted third-party certification.

‘Alongside the need for eco-friendly products, contractors need to consider long-term aspects of the materials and tools they use to install flooring,’ Steve Grimwood, Osmo UK’s md. ‘By abiding to the strict Greenguard requirements, Taylor’s MS-Plus adhesive line-up allows for the improvement of indoor air quality, both during and after flooring installation. With the reduced chemical emissions and exposure, Taylor MS Adhesive is safer and more pleasant for the installer and end-user.’

Based on MS polymer hybrid chemistry, the MS adhesives range is formulated for interior installation of all types of wood flooring, including block parquet, engineered plank, acrylic impregnated plank, bamboo and pre-finished and unfinished solid wood flooring.

It is said to be solvent-free with good concrete moisture inhibition capability, sound reduction and crack isolation properties.

Flexible and elastic, the range is formulated to ensure good strength build up.

Alongside the regular MS-Plus range, Taylor 600cc Sausages are applied using a bulk gun, allowing users to administer the product more accurately and quickly, whilst providing a cleaner method of application.

Tarkett says it sent less than 1% of its waste to landfill in 2012. The company recycled over 500 tonnes of waste produced at its UK factory in Lenham, Kent. Tarkett introduced its first recycling initiatives in 1957.

David Jenner, production director at Tarkett, said: ‘We take recycling and sustainability very seriously. We’ve worked hard to introduce recycling procedures that were easy to follow and maintain and it’s paid dividends.’

Additionally, Tarkett has installed energy meters to map usage and reduce consumption.

This meant replacing old, high consumption equipment and installing new energy efficient lighting, approved by Kent County Council.

This year the company, which manufactures 2m sq m of flooring a year, aims to maintain its zero waste to landfill approach and recycle more of its oil by-products. Reusable waste includes homogeneous and heterogeneous vinyl, luxury vinyl tiles, PVC sports floors, welding rods and roll. Tarkett has a certificate confirming the amount of waste recycled.

Uzin says it is focused on developing new environmental solutions, including new Cube It Simple packaging, which means:

47% less transport: The cube packaging allows much more efficient method of transporting as more weight and units can be put on a pallet. Transportation is therefore reduced and less CO2 discharged.

n 89% less plastic: Only the liner is made from plastic, which can be returned and disposed of. The box is made from recycled cardboard which can be recycled. This saves floor contractors the hassle of disposing plastic containers.

Uzin puts the environment at the centre of its corporate philosophy and wants to share its knowledge of Cube It Simple packaging with fellow manufactures.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at