How Eco-Friendly is Laminate?
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide recently posted a Q&A regarding the eco-friendliness of laminate countertops compared to quarried options such as granite and quartz. According to Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, you should consider basing selection criteria on a product’s life cycle analysis (LCA).
The LCA assesses each and every impact associated with all stages of production from the sourcing of raw materials through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal or recycling. LCA information for Formica® brand products is available in the new sustainability section of formica.com.
Specific to high-pressure laminate countertops (HPL), McCabe cites environmentally friendly benefits such as:
-HPL is generally comprised of sustainable wood fibers and papers
-HPL is lightweight compared to its volume, so domestic transportation makes for a relatively small carbon footprint
-HPL fabrication and installation can now be done with low-VOC adhesives
In addition, McCabe suggests noting whether an HPL product has FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Chain of Custody certification and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute under the GREENGUARD Standard for Low-Emitting Products. Formica® Brand Laminate meets both environmental standards, among others.
For a more comprehensive look at laminate’s sustainable attributes as well as those of other surfacing options, check out McCabe’s post. In addition to McCabe’s insights, the post includes links to industry resources and other discussions on sustainability topics.