Sustainability Includes Things You Can’t See
Janet Lowe, UK market manager at forbo flooring systems, discusses sustainable manufacturing:
WITH sustainability high on project agendas nowadays, contractors are becoming more conscious of its importance and can usually find their customers’ products that can help raise a project’s green credentials.
However, contractors may not be aware that flooring manufacturers are doing much more than just producing sustainable products.
Sustainability and creating better environments often permeating throughout a manufacturer’s entire business, from product design and production to post installation recycling.
For those truly green briefs where the end result is to achieve tough Building Regulations or to obtain BREEAM outstanding, contractors need to be able to source products that can contribute to the project overall and help it to attain these values.
Sustainability in the flooring industry can be viewed in two parts with the manufacturing process; including using recycled content, combining natural materials and zero production waste, and then the products both during and after installation; which can reduce cleaning and maintenance for end users, as well as reducing fitting waste for contractors.
For that reason contractors should be aware what goes on behind the scenes of suppliers; so there are a few things to look out for when choosing a manufacturer to purchase floorcoverings from.
Manufacturing plants across the UK all meet different ISO International Standards, but one of the most important is ISO 14001, which addresses aspects of the company’s performance by focusing on specific environmental features to help companies reduce their environmental impact.
Furthermore, a company that incorporates a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in its business proves to customers that it is measuring and helping to minimise its impact on the environment.
In regards to how a factory is operated, so called ‘green’ electricity obtained from renewable sources, such as wind turbines or photovoltaic solar panels, is becoming all the more achievable. Recycling schemes are also important in improving the environmental performance of the industry as a whole and reducing landfill waste; there are many initiatives contractors can support.
Schemes can be where wastage is sent back to the plant or dropped off at various sites, often free of charge, to be recycled and then returned to the manufacturing process – helping to reduce waste. For example, Back to the Floor from Forbo is a collection and recycling scheme for installation off-cuts, although it requires the contractor to manage their waste streams and separate flooring from general waste. However if storage is an issue, waste can sometimes be collected from the site for an additional cost.
What’s more, manufacturer members of Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), who promote the recycling of carpet tiles at the end of life, are demonstrating their commitment to providing a greener environment and to help customers accomplish targets such as zero waste to landfill.
In conclusion, contractors should realise that sustainability is about the things you can’t see, encompassing all of a manufactures processes to create a better environment.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.