Environmental Considerations

Vinyl Recycling Databases

The Vinyl Institute website  offers two comprehensive databases about vinyl and recycling.

Click here for the database of vinyl recycling companies.

Click here for the database of manufacturers of recycled vinyl products.

Environmental Considerations

Section Contents:

Recyclability and disposal issues
Energy efficiency
Indoor air quaility
Resource conservation

Recyclability and disposal issues. During the vinyl flooring manufacturing process, especially for vinyl composition tile, most of the scrap is recycled for use in the finished product. In addition, some vinyl flooring manufacturers produce products made with recycled vinyl content. This material can be both post-consumer (i.e., material that's been used for its intended purpose and is being recovered for recycling) and post-industrial (the scrap left over from a product manufacturing process). This material represents many tons of vinyl scrap per year that would otherwise go to a landfill.

Vinyl flooring can be disposed of in landfills without posing special problems. Because it is an essentially inert material, no special handling is required.

Energy efficiency. Because of its durability, vinyl flooring does not have to be replaced as often as many other types of flooring. This durability is a significant benefit for the environment because less energy and other resources are used to make and install new floors.

Indoor air quality. Vinyl flooring, when installed as recommended, has minimal long-term impact on indoor air quality.

Resource conservation. Both environmentally and economically, VCT outperforms two other flooring products - linoleum and recycled-content ceramic tile - based on the criteria developed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's Building for Environment and Economic Sustainability (BEES) lifecycle assessment model. These criteria include indoor air quality (IAQ), solid waste, acid rain, global warming and natural resource depletion. The BEES model for evaluating building products is being used by architects, builders, contractors and other specifiers to select products with reduced environmental impact.

Other. The manufacturing process for vinyl flooring poses minimal risk to workers and the environment.

Plasticizers used to make vinyl flooring flexible have been thoroughly researched and tested, and there is no evidence of adverse human health effects when properly used in vinyl flooring. In fact, one of the same plasticizers used in flooring has been used successfully in vinyl medical products for more than 40 years.