Four types of floor covering have been investigated with respect to their environmental impact: linoleum, cushion vinyl, tufted carpet with a woollen pile and tufted carpet with a polyamide pile. The analysis relates to all stages in the life-cycle (from 'cradle to grave') and focuses on floor coverings for domestic use. The analysis is performed by means of the method for life-cycle assessment (Dutch approach). Each floor covering is assessed with regard to its environmental impact. This impact can be of various type: depletion of raw materials, cumulative energy requirement, global warming, acidification, tropospheric ozone creation, stratospheric ozone depletion, eutrophication, production of waste and human health. The inventory of environmental interventions (materials, energy requirements, waste and emissions to air, water and soil) was fairly complete. Most interventions relating to the processes that make up the life-cycle of the floor coverings in question could be quantified. A large part of the data is associated with the process energy requirement. In general these data are quite reliable. The results of the impact assessment for linoleum differs considerably from those for other types of floor coverings. Linoleum turns out to be the most environmentally favourable floor covering. It was not possible to differentiate between the environmental impact of cushion vinyl, tufted carpet with a woollen pile and tufted carpet with a polyamide pile.
- floor coverings
- life-cycle assessment