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What Is the Environmental Impact of PVC Floors?

At a time where environmental concerns are at the forefront of everyone's minds, it is perfectly reasonable to question the environmental impact of PVC materials.
Is it an eco-friendly solution? What is its real carbon footprint? To help you have a clearer understanding, this article explains what you need to know about PVC flooring and its environmental impact!


Is PVC Eco-Responsible?

While manufacturing PVC currently requires the use of fossil fuels, Gerflor prioritises an ecodesign approach aimed at minimising the use of natural resources. In the short and long term, Gerflor's goals are very simple: minimise the use of fossil fuels for the production of PVC coverings and aim to be completely free from them in a few years.

More specifically, one of Gerflor's main commitments is to reduce the carbon footprint of the product during each of its life cycles, making its PVC floor coverings compliant with all the environmental standards, even the strictest ones.

Our commitments for 2025

Many of Gerflor's environmental commitments are expected to be fulfilled by 2025. For example, by acting directly on the raw material formulas of its PVC floors, as well as on their lifespan and maintenance, Gerflor is aiming to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 for each square meter manufactured. The total of the bio-based content should also increase from 5% to 10% by 2025, and the average recycled content should reach 30% by the same date. It should be noted that PVC flooring is particularly durable and this automatically reduces its environmental impact; it has a lifespan of approximately 25 years!


Can PVC Flooring be Recycled?

The question of recycling inevitably arises when questioning the environmental impact of PVC. In the collective imagination, we tend to think that because it contains plastic, this material cannot have a "second life," when in reality, PVC is 100% recyclable! It is in fact entirely possible to recycle PVC coverings when the manufacturer is willing to invest in the necessary resources to do so. In practice, it is totally possible to recover plastic residues, which is how Gerflor plans to recycle over 60 tons of products by 2025.

We're talking about a "Second Life"!

Our "clean" floor coverings (those with no adhesive or special treatment) are allocated to our "Second Life" program and are reused. Other non-standard products enter our PVC Next program for treatment. They are then processed into granules, which are used to manufacture products from other sectors. This industrial technique uses production scraps and installation waste. Nothing is wasted and each product benefits from the necessary treatment for future re-use!


Does PVC Flooring Affect Indoor Air Quality?

To answer this important question, the emissions of Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) from PVC coverings designed by French manufacturers have all been evaluated and measured according to the current standards. After 28 days, the figures show that the figures were extremely low: PVC floor coverings were immediately ranked in the best emission class within French regulations, which is class A+.

As well as its low environmental impact, PVC floor coverings do not emit any harmful or carcinogenic compounds and have no influence on indoor air quality!

The adhesive used for installing floorings has a significant environmental impact, so Gerflor aims to promote PVC floor installation without adhesive.

This solution not only improves indoor air quality but also makes installation easier!

The no-adhesive policy means a direct reduction of CO2 in the product and makes recycling of PVC flooring much simpler when it reaches the end of its life!

In order to ensure the highest level of safety for the end-users, we make sure that all our products comply with the European REACH regulations on all points.

So Gerflor not only complies with the current regulations but it performs better than the standards that are enforced for the best environmental conservation!

Gerflor's Commitment to Sustainability

To reinforce its commitment to sustainability, Gerflor actively contributes to the Vinyl Plus program, which brings together various volunteers from the European PVC industry.

Numerous Certifications

Gerflor's eco-responsible approach has been acknowledged through several certifications and labels proving its commitment to the environment.

Among these, the American Floorscore certification approves all our ranges of floor coverings. This certification is world-wide established and evaluates the VOC emissions of all our products.

We have also obtained the UPEC certification, which acknowledges the durability of our products and requires a minimum usage period of 10 years.

Our sustainable development policy has also earned us the Cradle to Cradle certification. This particularly strict international certification is based on the assessment of the toxicity of materials used, the use of renewable energy, water management, etc.

Promoting Short Supply Chains

Regardless of their design, the transportation of factory-made products can represent a considerable part of their environmental impact, which is why Gerflor makes every effort to favour short supply chains.

Gerflor, the flooring group

Gerflor creates, manufactures, and brings to market innovative, decorative and eco-responsible complete solutions for resilient floors, wall coverings, and accessories, from installation to finishings for commercial environments.


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