USGBC’s LEED building rating system Version 4 places a heavy emphasis on construction waste management as well as on recycled content in new products being installed. With the technology now in place, and with sustainability as their goal, many wallcovering companies now have material take-back programs to reclaim products coming out of service.
LSI Wallcovering offers their Second-Look products and was the first company to initiate closed loop wallcovering recycling. LSI takes back wallcovering made by any manufacturer as long as tests on samples show that the material does not contain heavy metals or materials that do not meet their strict quality control standards. There are a number of wallcovering distributors who work with Second-Look to recycle their own products.
Wallcoverings are third-party certified as low-emitting materials, and many manufacturers and distributors are certified under NSF/ANSI 342 Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products. The standard is used to evaluate and certify the sustainability of wallcovering products across their entire product life cycle. Based on LCA (life-cycle assessment) principles, this standard uses a point system to evaluate wallcovering products against established requirements. These include performance criteria and metrics in the areas of product design and manufacturing, long-term value, end-of-life management, corporate governance and innovation.
Wallcovering remains one of the best choices for a durable and easy to clean wall surface and the industry’s products continue to meet modern requirements for sustainability. However, many designers are unaware that recycling programs are even available.
Increased emphasis is being placed on landfill avoidance and recycled content. As designers become more aware of recycled materials, many of them will encourage their use through the specification of those products.
Recycling rates are growing as more design professionals become familiar with available recovery programs. It will be through increased specification and use of vinyl wallcoverings that recycling will continue to grow and a sustainable future be assured.