Green flooring: How green is rubber flooring?
We’re looking at the most sustainable flooring options on the market. This week we’re checking out rubber’s green credentials.
Rubber is generally considered to be one of the most low-impact and environmentally friendly building materials; however, this is only if you’re buying recycled or natural rubber, not synthetic rubber.
Natural rubber from certified sources is a sustainable and durable material to use for floors. Latex sap, a renewable raw material produced by the para rubber tree, is a key ingredient in natural rubber, and the finished product is known for its malleable, elastic, waterproof and durable qualities. Natural rubber is mostly produced in Asia, and there are some transport-related emissions that need to be factored in when considering its sustainability.
Synthetic rubber is derived from petroleum with a number of known carcinogens and hazardous solvents used in its processing and production. The energy use and air emissions produced during the production and disposal of synthetic rubber make it one of the least sustainable options available for flooring.
Why rubber is a good, green choice
The best choice is recycled rubber. Recycled rubber products reduce demand for virgin raw materials, minimise the amount of waste going to landfill, and a lot of recycled rubber comes from car tires that would otherwise create significant disposal problems. Recycled rubber flooring therefore assists in closing the recycling loop, as opposed to using a material with little or no recycled content.