There’s more to sustainability than “natural”

Shorter showers aren’t the only way to conserve natural resources at home. Every product you decorate with – from your pillows to the furniture to your floor – has some degree of impact on the natural environment. That means your purchase choices are important, but it’s not always obvious which products have been manufactured with the environment in mind. You might be overlooking environmentally friendly options that are a fantastic match for your home and your style. These three things can help you broaden your sustainable horizons as you search for the next item on your home wish list.

All-natural isn’t always more sustainable

Responsible manufacturers are tackling the environmental impacts of their businesses from every angle, including the materials they choose to use in their products. Remember that companies aren’t making that floor or this rug for one home – they’re working on a commercial scale. That means any natural materials they use – hardwood trees, marble, or granite, for instance – must be harvested at the same scale.

Many of Earth’s natural resources are finite, and even those that aren’t, like trees, can be harvested at unsustainable rates that harm the future of the species. And it all requires land to be used in specific ways, potentially stripping the land of other, very important uses – such as supporting animal species, storing carbon in the soil, and enabling food production.

Think of it this way. Let’s say you choose countertops that look just like marble, but they’re efficiently manufactured from durable yet light-weight high-pressure laminate made with recycled content. Or maybe you select luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors that are indistinguishable from a gorgeous, rare wood grain. In both cases, you are removing the need to harvest less-abundant natural resources. LVT, for example, combines a highly abundant natural ingredient (limestone) with synthetic materials to create myriad long-lasting, highly durable, nature-inspired designs.

Transparency is a virtue

Leading companies never stop improving how they produce the items you love. They find new ways to keep people safe; reduce energy, water, and material waste; and proactively assess ingredients. But all these good things are happening in the background, out of sight as you walk the aisles of your favorite store or consult your designer.

Responsible manufacturers use a few different ways to provide you and your architect or designer with information about the environmental impacts of their products and manufacturing processes. Third-party certifications quickly let you know that a product has been verified to meet certain criteria. You may be familiar with certifications like ENERGY STAR® for energy efficiency, or maybe you’ve seen the FloorScore® Certification and Assure Certified™️

logos on flooring products you’re considering for your home.

You can also look to see if a manufacturer has shared an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the product you’re interested in. An EPD lists product ingredients as well as environmental impacts that result from raw materials, manufacturing, and other aspects of the product’s life. Whether or not you (or your designer) choose to examine the details of the EPD, you can feel confident that a manufacturer that shares this documentation is serious about improving environmental impact.

Think long term

Whether it’s made from a synthetic material or a natural one, durability matters when it comes to making your home more environmentally friendly. The longer it lasts without losing its appeal means the less waste your home is going to produce over time. Responsibly made products are up to the challenge.

Mindful manufacturers think about how well their products will stand up to the stresses of everyday life for decades, and they create styles that will last just as long. When you read product reviews or explore a product website, keep an eye out for descriptions of durability and expected lifespan. Look on manufacturers’ websites to see if they tout long-lived products.

Then once you’ve installed that floor, settled into that sofa or hung the new bathroom shelf that comes from a responsible manufacturer, you can feel good knowing it will look great for years to come.

Sustainability comes in many styles

Now you know that natural isn’t the only eco-friendly option, and you can look for third-party certifications and EPDs as telltale signs that a manufacturer is paying attention to their environmental impact. Sustainability doesn’t need to limit your imagination – there are many mindfully made products to help you bring beauty and sustainability into your home.

Learn more about the mindful manufacturing benefits of resilient flooring. This product category conserves natural resources while channeling the beauty of nature into highly durable floors with easy-to-find Environmental Product Declarations and other third-party certifications.

3 tips to reduce your home’s future waste

Some products last a lifetime. Others last only a short time. You may have already cut the really short-lived products, like single-use plastic bags, out of your routine. However, there are plenty of home products you use on a regular basis – from dish sponges to sofas, mini-blinds to major appliances – that will eventually be added to the tally of waste your home generates over time. The same goes for doors, windows, and flooring.

You can make product choices today that will help you reduce your home’s waste in the future. Look for the style and price you want – but don’t forget to add product lifespan, durability, and room-specific needs to your criteria list. These three simple considerations will help you choose home products that will look good and perform well for decades, which means you will replace them less often over the life of your home.

The big deal about home products going to waste

In 2018, Americans landfilled an estimated 37.4 million tons of durable goods, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines as products designed to last for at least three years. This category includes certain types of flooring, electronics, and household goods. Furniture added about 9.7 million tons to the total, while appliances comprised about 3.7 million tons. That is a massive volume of bulky, oversized products (not to mention still-valuable resources) taking up the limited space in our landfills. The longer your products last between replacements, the smaller your home’s long-term contribution to this waste.

Consideration #1: How long will the product last?

When it’s time to buy a new big-ticket item for your home, consider the product’s expected lifespan. Is a certain brand of product longer-lived than another? The question also applies when you’re considering products made from different materials, which may have significantly different lifespans.

A study from the National Association of Home Builders, for example, showed that flooring products made from different materials run the gamut of average lifespans. (Many blog posts from flooring contractors also illustrate this fact.) Hardwood can last the life of your home, resilient flooring (such as luxury vinyl tile, rubber, and linoleum) lasts 20-plus years, and carpet lasts an average of 8-10 years.

Whether the product lives up to its expected lifespan in your home depends on the material’s everyday durability – how well it rebounds from the wear and tear of real life. If your flooring rips, stains, or scratches with ease, you’re more likely to replace it before it reaches its predicted lifespan.

Consideration #2: How hard will it be to maintain this product?

For some materials, the ability to reach the full lifespan also depends on how well (and regularly) you maintain the product. It’s time to be honest with yourself: how often will you clean the filters in your vacuum? Will you refinish your hardwood floors or have your carpets professionally cleaned at regular intervals? Will you use the special cleaner the manufacturer recommends or your all-purpose one?

It’s worth considering how high-maintenance a product is before you invest in it. Everyday life can be messy, and easy cleaning is a virtue. If a product requires a lot of elbow grease or harsh chemicals to look good or perform well over time, you may be ready to replace it long before its usable life is over. That means more waste over the life of your home and potentially more expense, too.

Consideration #3: Does this product meet the room’s specific needs?

Carefully choosing products that suit each room’s needs can help you waste less over time. Floors are a perfect example. The bathroom, of course, needs a water-resistant or waterproof floor that won’t warp or rot. The kitchen needs a floor that won’t be damaged by spills, while the hallway needs something that won’t wear.

In the kids’ rooms, you want something that can take whatever your kids can throw at it (literally).

Where are the pets running through? A floor designed to resist scratches and stains will last longer.

Shrinking the cycle of waste

As homeowners, you have many opportunities to make your home more beautiful, more functional – and more responsible. One important way is to choose durable products that will last for decades. Long-term endurance is a win-win for your finances and the environment, as you will cut down on the waste that comes with having to replace damaged or worn products before their time.

Learn about the benefits of resilient flooring – a category of products designed to give you great durability, easy maintenance, and options for every room’s needs.

Beautifully Responsible® floors are made with well-being in mind

Your floor holds some heavy responsibilities: Stand up to the wear and tear, spills and stains of everyday life. Clean up easily. Look good. And promote your family’s well-being.

Floors are more than a backdrop to life – they play a role in your family living well. Whether you’re concerned about improving the quality of air inside your home, avoiding harsh cleaners, or picking safe products for the kids, the right floors can make a difference. Whether you’re in the market now for new floors or collecting ideas for the future, your family should consider resilient floors.

First things first: Defining “resilient floors”

Resilient flooring is a category of flooring products, just like hardwood or carpet. You might not have heard the category name, but you’ve probably heard of luxury vinyl tile, rubber, linoleum, and cork. Those are just a few of the popular floors in this category.

Resilient flooring gets its name from its ability to “give” under the impact of footsteps and then spring back into shape. It’s built to endure whatever challenges life throws at it – including helping you care for your family.

Breathe easy: Certified to indoor air standards

Now more than ever, families are thinking about the air they breathe – and what might be in it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality can be a factor in headaches, dizziness, breathing problems, and other effects. While dust and allergens can decrease the quality of your indoor air, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the more concerning culprit. VOCs are released from many common home goods, furnishings, paints, and varnishes.

That means you have the power to choose products that don’t come with high levels of VOCs – and third-party certifications make this simple for you to do.

Specifically, the FloorScore® IAQ Certification lets you know when flooring products are certified to promote cleaner indoor air quality (IAQ) due to reduced VOC content. FloorScore® makes it easy to know whether the floor you choose contributes to good indoor air quality – no guessing or anxiety involved.

Following the lead of a California building code referred to as “Section 01350,” FloorScore® sets strict limits on the types and amounts of VOCs that can be emitted by non-carpet flooring products. Hundreds of resilient flooring materials and their adhesives have met the standards and earned the FloorScore® label.

FloorScore® is available for other types of hard flooring products as well, but this unique thirdparty certification originated within the resilient flooring category. The Resilient Floor Covering Institute, a trade organization, developed the FloorScore® standards in partnership with SCS Global Services, an internationally recognized third-party certification firm.

Live with confidence: Harsh chemicals aren’t at home here

When you choose resilient flooring, you say “no” to harsh chemical substances coming into close contact with your family.

First, cleaning resilient flooring only requires sweeping and occasional damp mopping using pH neutral cleaners. It’s designed with advanced wear layers that make it easy to clean and maintain without the need for chemical applications or harsh cleaners.

Second, there’s the content of the resilient flooring itself. Whether you have small children, pets, or both spending their time on the floor, resilient flooring products are good options. Mindful manufacturers have designed their resilient flooring products with your family’s well-being in mind, and they have a track record of proactively assessing ingredients and removing those of concern.

In fact, their dedication to quality and well-being led to the launch of the ASSURE CERTIFIED™ label in 2020. This third-party certification from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute and SCS Global Services targets rigid core luxury vinyl flooring, which is the fast-growing segment of resilient flooring in North America.

To carry the label, flooring products must meet requirements for indoor air quality, excellent performance, and being free of heavy metals and ortho-phthalate plasticizers. The end goal is simple: give homeowners, architects, and designers confidence in the floor they choose.

In line with your priorities

The benefits of resilient flooring don’t stop there. Some types increase acoustic comfort by damping the noise of foot traffic and reducing how much sound travels between floors. Other types of resilient flooring can be installed without raised, disruptive transitions between rooms in order to improve access for those with limited mobility.

There’s a good chance resilient flooring is the right choice for your family. It’s durable, affordable, sustainable, and stylish. Most importantly, it’s designed to help you create a home that supports your family’s well-being. That’s the real beauty of it.

What Beautifully Responsible® means

Beautiful … responsible. What do these words mean to you? Have you ever thought about connections between the two?

The connections are exactly what inspire us to create eco-friendly floors you can feel good about – not only because they match your home’s style, but because they match your values.

Discover what it means to be Beautifully Responsible® – check out the video below.

What makes resilient flooring a good choice for your family?

If you’re looking for a safe, colorful floor for the playroom, look no further. If you wish you had a durable kitchen floor that stood up to scuffs and spills, stop wishing. Want to fill your home with eco-friendly products? You’ve come to the right place for these benefits and more.

From the manufacturing process to everyday use, resilient flooring brings together environmental sustainability, well-being, and durable performance. Check out the graphic below to walk through the many benefits you’ll get from resilient flooring made by Beautifully Responsible™ partners.

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