With so many affordable and stylish eco options on the market, it’s time to give your feet a treat
When looking for sustainable flooring, you should consider a number of questions. Does it come from a sustainable source? Does it involve high embodied energy? How healthy is it, given that lots of flooring products contain potentially harmful toxins? Your options include weaves, reeds and fibres such as carpet, sisal and coir (any carpet should be pure wool with a natural fibre backing); wipe-clean materials such as linoleum, rubber and cork; and hard flooring such as wood, bamboo, stone and ceramic tiles.
Above: Produced using harvestable raw materials such as linseed oil, wood flour, rosin jute and limestone, the Marmoleum Click range from Forbo Flooring (forbo-flooring.co.uk) is a natural product which is completely bio-degradable. What’s more, for every square metre sold of the Marmoleum Lime Click (pictured), Forbo will donate €0.50 (approx 40p) to the World Wildlife Fund.
Potentially harmful chemicals might have been used in the dyeing of soft flooring.
Nylon and polyester, common alternatives to wool, are petrochemical derivatives.
Any woven flooring will be a dust trap and a place to harbour toxins.
Carpets are thought to be one of the contributory factors in the UK’s rising rates of asthma.
Much affordable natural stone has been quarried abroad, and carted halfway round the world.
Child labour is still an issue with some imported stone.
Weaves, reeds and fibres are often cheaper than hard flooring, and act as good insulators.
Carpet should be pure wool, with a natural fibre backing.
Linoleum (marketed as Marmoleum) and rubber are made of natural ingredients, so will easily biodegrade.
Cork is a natural substance, warm underfoot and cheap.
Wood and bamboo are widely available, can be sourced locally, and there’s a big market in recycled boards.
It’s also easier to buy from a sustainable source.
Panda Flooring: www.pandaflooring.co.uk
Urbane Living: www.urbaneliving.co.uk
Building Green: www.buildinggreen.com
Green Building Store: www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk
Words: Dominic Murphy Image: Forbo