Environmental In-Box: Marmoleum, the Eco-Friendly Flooring
When it comes to choosing flooring for your home, you might not even know eco-friendly options exist. But for over 100 years, Forbo has been manufacturing Marmoleum, an all natural linoleum. Katie Kelleher reports:
What is it? Marmoleum is made into flooring sheets or tiles from a compound of linseed oil, rosins, cork flour, limestone and wood flour that’s adhered to a nontoxic jute backing. These ingredients create a tough environmentally-friendly product that becomes harder and more durable over time. Naturally occurring anti-bacteria and anti-static properties are added to the mix to help the flooring resist dust and inhibit the growth of germs that cause disease. You can buy it online or find a local distributor by entering your location information into the website.
What I like: Forbo sought to minimize its environmental impact long before it was trendy, and has the third-party certifications to prove it. Marmoelum has received a Platinum certification from the SMART Sustainable Products Standard. It has also been certified under the ISO 14001, a global environmental management standard for sustainable practices. Additionally, Marmoleum’s health and wellness claims have been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. No greenwashing here.
Plus, Marmoleum is a cinch to clean. Stains do not penetrate Marmoleum due to its Topshield protective layer; it is best cleaned by vacuuming, sweeping, or using a mop and the company cleaning solution.
Marmoleum Click offers consumers design flexibility, additional health benefits, and money-saving benefits, too: the flooring “clicks” together in a fit that requires no adhesives that can emit nasty fumes With its 24 color choices and many design possibilities, Marmoleum is equally appropriate for residential or corporate settings.(It was installed in our company kitchen when the offices were renovated.) The website's Marmoleum Click Floorplanner lets you create a virtual room, including furniture, to test out your favorite floor design.
Also, the flooring is comfortable to walk on, thanks to the softening effect of the natural jute fiber backing. Marmoleum Click can last upwards of 30 years without being replaced.
What could be improved? Because Marmoleum is made from natural ingredients, the color of the floor may vary from the sample or could change over time. Also, the flooring cannot currently be recycled once it's been used. On the plus side, it will decompose in a landfill without releasing harmful chemicals into the ground, water or air. Also, the company strives to maximize materials recycling during manufacturing to minimize waste.
Corporate responsibility: Forbo has partnered with WWF, the global conservation organization, to donate proceeds from Marmoleum sales to the environmental group’s crusade to protect the environment. For every square meter sold from eight designated green linoleum floor covering colors bought anywhere in the world, Forbo donates the equivalent of $0.68 to the WWF. This translates to about a $50.00 donation when a room the size of an average elementary school classroom is floored using Marmoleum.
Product comparison: Flor Carpet Tiles offer a possible eco-alternative to Marmoleum Click, with the added advantage that they can be recycled. However, it is not apparent on Flor's website whether the company meets the same level of sustainable standards that Marmoleum does.
Marmoleum looks especially appealing when compared to two of the most popular flooring options in the market: carpeting, and vinyl.
Carpet can harbor millions of allergens, like mold, mildew, dust mites, animal dander, and pollen. Dust mites live in carpets and grow rapidly in the presence of dander. Even with careful cleaning and vacuuming, these particles are simply shifted around or blown into the air where they can be inhaled by humans. Actually using the carpet (i.e., walking on it) can make matters worse, as the fibers tend to collect pesticides, pollen, and mold spores when people and animals regularly travel across it. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that you may need to remove carpets from your home if you have dust mite or similar allergies. Carpeting is also a challenge to keep clean, since cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting may require strong chemicals that can lead to headaches, achiness, and flu-like symptoms. In addition, carpet may wear out quickly; if a stain on carpet becomes permanent, you may incur the cost of replacing the entire carpet.If you want the feel of a carpet but prefer to avoid carpeting, install Marmoleum and use washable area rugs for main living spaces.
Vinyl flooring can “off gas” air pollutants into your home, including phthalate plasticizers, lead, cadmium, dioxins and PVC. PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is known as one of the worst plastics for the environment and human health , says The Healthy Building Network. Companies like Honda, IKEA, Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, and Toyota have promised o stop using PVC in their products, due to the serious health concerns it raises.
Like Forbo, most other manufacturers of linoleum floors use plant-based ingredients. The most notable advantage of Marmoleum Click is that is does not involve the use of adhesive, which standard linoleum floors require. When evaluating competing linoleum floor providers, check third party certifications to ensure their sustainable practices are legitimate.
Cost: Prices vary for Marmoleum Click, ranging from $5.50 to $ 7.50 per square foot (not installed). The big price advantage for Click is that individual tiles can be replaced, reducing the need to replace an entire floor if just a few tiles are soild or damaged.
How many purses? Three. Marmoleum Click is a superior flooring choice, thanks to its health benefits, eco-friendly manufacturing processes, easy "click" installation and replacement, and simple cleaning regimen. Plus, it offers a wide variey of design possibilities.