When developing new environments, designers and architects have the option to spec out flooring materials manufactured using environmentally-friendly techniques. But what to do with the billions of square feet of environmentally-unfriendly flooring that already exists?
For example, VCT (vinyl composition tile) is pretty much everywhere: Office buildings, factories, and schools like the stuff because it's cheap, durable, and easy to clean. It's also made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which gives off harmful dioxins when it's ultimately incinerated. And as older buildings get torn down or renovated, more than one billion pounds of VCT go into U.S. landfills every year.
Luckily, a company called Mannington Commercial Recycling has figured out a way to recycle the stuff. VCT tiles have already been made, that damage has already been done; but to dump and incinerate it would cause yet more damage to the environment, so Mannington seeks out VCT that's ready to be dumped and recycles it back into new tile, making the stuff pay off more of its debt to the environment, so to speak.
"...We have been looking for consistent waste streams to increase the amount of post-consumer content that we can use in our products, because it is the right thing to do," says John Emmons, Director of Commercial Manufacturing at Mannington. "The beauty of this type of flooring is that it can be torn up and recycled forever."
You can learn more about Mannington and their recycling initiatives here.