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Environmental Issues

Overview

The wallcoverings industry, like its counterparts in carpeting, other interior finishes, and paint, are carefully monitored by various government agencies, including OSHA and Congress, to ensure that the product’s manufacture, installment and use are safe for the environment. In the wallcoverings industry, modifications where needed have been made to comply with changes made in existing environmental and safety regulations. The following information outlines how the wallcoverings industry is addressing major environmental issues.

Key Points

  • Today, most wallcoverings are manufactured using no heavy metals such as lead, mercury, chromium or cadmium that could adversely affect the environment.
  • Many manufacturers are introducing and developing additional environmentally-friendly substrates in the manufacture of wallcoverings.
  • To save forests, designers can now select wallcoverings that use harvested wood pulp from managed forests in their production.
  • Wallcoverings are tested before they are put on the market for flame spread and smoke levels in case of fire. Wallcoverings on the market meet regulated standards, with many wallcoverings exhibiting extremely low flame spread and smoke development ratings.
  • Adhesives used in installation are environmentally sound, with many being water-based.
  • NSF/ANSI 342 is the Sustainability Standard for Wallcoverings which was developed to support  environmental requests for green building products. This standard encourages innovation and transparency in wallcovering products, including the supply chain of raw materials, manufacturers and distribution channel to the market. 

New products have been and are being introduced that give safe, environmentally-friendly and have a long life cycle... everything conscious designers and their clients are requesting. The increased demand for these products is driving our manufacturers to become even more diligent in innovating environmentally friendly products. For the newest developments when specifying a project, contact your wallcoverings supplier.

A Word about Vinyl

Vinyl's toughness and durability make it the most widely used plastic in building products today. Cost-effective and durable, vinyl can also be manufactured to simulate virtually any color, pattern or texture created by man or nature. Despite the increase in vinyl production, environmental releases associated with production and disposal of vinyl have fallen. This is due in part to the fact that vinyl has been regulated for decades, ensuring that the environment is protected at each step in the life cycle of the material and the products made from it.

How does vinyl compare with other materials in environmental performance? Is it a sustainable material? The answers to these questions are clear. Vinyl’s performance is outstanding. The primary raw material in vinyl resin comes from common salt, which is in abundant supply. This means that vinyl is less reliant on petroleum resources than other plastics. The vinyl manufacturing process is highly efficient—more than 99 percent of all vinyl produced ends up in a finished product. And the energy required for manufacturing vinyl wallcoverings is only half as much as the amount needed to produce the same amount of paper wallcoverings. In addition, most vinyl wallcoverings manufacturers actively recycle pre-consumer waste during manufacturing and many companies recycle post-consumer materials during renovations. 

Additional Resources

For more information on vinyl, contact the Vinyl Institute at www.vinylinfo.org. For complete information on vinyl wallcoverings, visit Vinyl by Design.

For information on NSF/ANSI 342, please click here

For information on other environmental issues, please contact the Wallcoverings Association at 312.321.5166.

 

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