Plastic shopping bags and many other items do not belong in your recycling binRecycling household waste is second nature to me. But, I still find myself questioning what I can and cannot put into the recycle bin.
Here’s the skinny on the products that I find confusing. You should always consult with your local curbside recycling service provider. A good resource for all your recycling questions is www.Earth911.org.
The numbered triangle on the plastic container indicates the type of plastic that was used to make that container. Some types of plastics are easier to recycle than others. Which types of plastics get recycled often depend on if there is a market for that product after it is recycled.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was accurate as of the date it was published, and was signed off on by all of the manufacturer sources quoted. That said, manufacturers frequently change their formulations and ingredients, so this article, given its age, becomes background. DO NOT rely on this article for purchasing these manufacturers’ current products. The questions are relatively simple, but if you would like help in getting guaranteed answers about certifications on a current product, sign up at: https://www.naturalinteriors.com/consumer-subscription/Indoor Air Quality Certifications offer some, but not complete, assurance about vinyl flooringQ. While I am intrigued by natural, linoleum products, my budget is more inclined toward the Naturcor vinyl flooring I am looking at buying from my local flooring dealer. I also am concerned about buying a product that does not emit excessive chemicals, and I have been warned about dioxin, which is a carcinogen, by another blogger.
Still, I have seen some vinyl brands advertise that they are green. What is the truth about vinyl?
A. The truth about vinyl – or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – is that it isn’t the preferred product of environmentalists or most green product enthusiasts. But dioxin is an end-of-product life or house fire issue, because it is released when PVC is incinerated.
Do synthetic backings on natural carpeting defeat the purpose?Q. I have been looking into wool carpeting because wool is a natural fiber that does not emit chemicals. But I am learning that most wool carpets have plastics and other synthetics in the backings, and they also are treated with moth proofing agents, which many experts have told me is unnecessary. Does this negate the indoor-air friendly and planet-friendly aspects of natural wool carpeting?
A. All discussions about “green” products involve levels or degrees of greenness. That said, the answer to your question is yes – to some extent. Because it is not made from petrochemicals, the wool fiber in the carpet will be far more indoor-air friendly than traditional synthetic fibers, despite the use of synthetic backings like polypropylene.
Keep in mind that there are products like Nature’s Carpet “Dark Green” line that offer New Zealand and British Wool carpets with no chemical treatments and natural jute backings. Not only does this eliminate any concern you have about chemical emissions, but leads into the second point you’ve raised about planet-friendly aspects.
As Green Squared joins a long list of “green” certifications in the marketplace, some flooring companies are planning to make product certifications readily availableWe once said what could be more natural and less toxic than a tile floor? It is baked dirt, after all, fired at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Surely, this heat would burn off organics present in clay or binders, resulting in a product that emits no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Well, as with all green interior products these days, more and more people are saying, “prove it.”
That’s why there is an indoor-air quality certification requirement within the Green Squared Certification, an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard that recently has gone into use for tile manufacturers.
“The concern is anything added to the product after firing,” says Ryan Marino, standards development officer for the Tile Council of North America.
FSC is the top indicator of sustainable harvesting, but it’s hard to find on a finished flooring productForest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. It is synonymous with wood that meets the most rigorous standards of sustainable harvesting.
It remains the only certification the U.S. Green Building Council will use for certified wood in the latest version of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and it is lauded for everything from protecting forests to keeping toxic chemicals out of our groundwater.
But aside from a few, higher-end hardwood floors like DuChateau or USFloors Navarre, you won’t find the FSC-certified label on standard, finished hardwood flooring products – even those from manufacturers that have FSC-certified factories. The chain of custody documentation, from the forest to the distributor, required by FSC is costly, and in some cases, logistically impossible.
“We sell though a large number of independent distributors like Wanke Cascade,” says Ron Gade, western regional sales manager for Columbia and Century Flooring. “We see it as difficult to obtain FSC certification for this group of distributors.”
Natural oil that bonds gets thumbs up The oil hardwood flooring finish we are testing in this blog works differently than those we’ve already shown you.
It does not soak into the wood like the others. Instead, it forms a molecular bond with the first microns of the wood surface. It is spot-repairable like the others, but that works differently, too. Only the scratch or abraded area will bond with the oil when it is spread over the damaged area.
After 10 minutes, you just wipe away the excess, and you are done.
Experience and training of flooring installation crew should never be a question mark for consumersWe talk about product quality. We talk about price, which in today’s economy means we bypass some higher-quality products. But except in the instance of installing Marmoleum from Forbo, we have not talked much about installer training.
States like Oregon that have mandatory contractor licensing, which means continuing education credits that include some training in flooring installation, might tout their efforts to protect consumers. Some manufacturers, like Forbo, also require that their sheet products be installed by a contractor the company has certified in order for the product warranty to be valid.
But flooring distributors – that stock and supply products to flooring dealers – and the dealers themselves are not doing a reputable job unless they routinely provide training for flooring installers, says Victoria Haugen, marketing manager for Wanke Cascade, a Forbo distributor, headquartered in Portland, OR.
Cork, sustainable hardwood, oil and low-VOC finishes top list in homeowner’s meticulous selectionsCork flooring upstairs. Hardwood with an oil finish downstairs.
Stained Red Oak, from Indiana forests considered sustainable by Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, reaches from the spacious foyer and into the dining room. It changes to a basket weave pattern in the family room.
Lorinn Williams of Indian Hill, OH, began planning this home two years ago. Her 12-year-old daughter encouraged her to select as many “green” products as she could.
Some are born with Natural knowledge, but most of us have learned from mistakesSixteen years ago, I let my infant sleep on a plastic mattress filled with foam rubber. I had read the baby books and collaborated with pregnant friends.
But nothing and no one pointed out that standard mattresses contain petrochemicals or that these chemicals off-gas for us to breathe and absorb. Even when the baby developed sleep apnea -- and had to sleep wearing a halter monitor and alarm because of a family history of crib death -- I did not question the standard crib mattress I had purchased from my local baby supply store.
Truthfully, if someone had told me to raise this question, I probably would have laughed and, privately, considered that person to be a little crazy. Everyone in the United States buys and sleeps on traditional mattresses every day. If there were something wrong with that, we would all know, right?
Proper kitchen design includes hidden collection bin for food waste that prevents clutter and odorDishwasher on the right, compost collection bin on the left, or maybe on either side of the sink in the center island – hidden in the counter top. It’s one of the latest trends in kitchen design as the number of people who compost their food waste increases.
No one wants to see or smell a container of food scraps sitting out in plain view, or crammed into the cabinet under the sink. Nor is it always convenient to take scraps immediately outside to the composter.
So, the kitchen designer you need will have an air-tight compost collection bin hidden in the counter top.