Altro products are manufactured using the highest quality materials. They're also 100% recyclable pre-installation, which means any off-cuts can be recycled. Our safety flooring contains up to 20% recycled content and bio -based ingredients.
We source our materials responsibly and only use ISO 14001:2004 registered suppliers, or suppliers who have somehow demonstrated their commitment to the environment. And, our PVC polymers are from companies that have signed up to the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) Charter, which looks at reducing the environmental impact of PVC manufacture.
Altro safety flooring doesn't contain any known potentially harmful substances like formaldehyde, or any heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium. Not only that, but it doesn't contain any substances on the Candidate List for Authorisation under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) either. This is complex legislation for the control of chemicals with harmful effects on human health and the environment, and it's in line with our environmental practices too.
Indoor air quality, VOCs, FloorScore and CA 01350
When we choose products to install inside a building, indoor air quality is a big factor. This is because people spend up to 90% of their time indoors and are far more likely to be affected by pollutants inside than out. Poor indoor air quality can be caused by a number of factors, including inadequate ventilation, poor cleaning, and excessive emissions from all building products like floor finishes, furnishings and wall coverings.
VOCs are organic compounds that are released into the atmosphere by some substances and products. It's thought that exposure to VOCs can cause problems like sick building syndrome, diminished learning in schools, and reduced productivity in offices. And, VOCs are typically five times more concentrated indoors than outdoors.
Altro safety flooring has undergone rigorous external VOC testing. It's compliant with national and international indoor air quality schemes including FloorScore, which is with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in North America. All of our safety flooring and Altro Whiterock wall cladding are compliant. In fact, VOC emissions for Altro Whiterock are below detectable limits.
The FloorScore® program, developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), tests and certifies flooring products for compliance with indoor air quality emission requirements adopted nation-wide. FloorScore is an accepted compliance path under the USGBC's LEED green building system for Credit 4.3.
Altro safety flooring, as well as Altro Quartz Tile are FloorScore Certified and may help contribute to LEED Credits.
Phthalates and bioplasticizers
We've always taken pride in using premium ingredients to make premium products. We were the first manufacturer to produce phthalate free safety flooring and we continue to lead the market in making vinyl flooring that's free from phthalate plasticizers. In the past we used a range of plasticizers – mainly non-phthalate plasticizers and a small amount of phthalate plasticizers – to give the best performance for our products. But we'd always planned on moving to a more renewable source of plasticizers, and we did this fully in 2012 – something we're very proud of.
Now, we believe that bioplasticizers have developed to a level where they offer the best performance, while having the lowest impact on the environment and human health. Because of this, 99% of our safety flooring products contain a bioplasticizer which comes from a renewable resource.
Sustainability is part of our company ethos. So we'll never stop looking for more ways to improve our products while reducing our impact on the environment.
One of the new hot button issues in sustainability is the use of conflict materials. Conflict materials are minerals (Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten, and Gold) mined from conflict regions. These are the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries. In these regions people are coerced by militias to mine minerals under brutal conditions. These minerals make their way into the world economy and are used in products of all types.
Led by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, many firms, corporations, and government organizations now require that manufacturers fill out documentation that identifies where they are getting their materials. By avoiding these conflict materials they can reduce their demand and cut funding to the local militias who are oppressing the people of that area. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform has led this initiative and has managed to so far cut revenue to militias by 65%.
It’s important to note that while we use various different minerals in our construction of our floors and walls, we do not use any conflict materials in any of our products. This follows our corporate responsibility policy and is a good reminder that sustainability isn’t just about saving trees - it’s about maintaining our world and our way of life.
We only source our materials from companies with a ISO 14001:2004 certification, or suppliers who can demonstrate their environmental commitment. We choose high quality ingredients that can give us the best performance in our products, while minimising our impact on the environment.
At our Letchworth, England headquarters, we've operated a zero-PVC-waste-to-landfill policy since 2007 and we've been able to do this by investing in, and installing, the world's first safety flooring recycling system. It offers a closed loop recycling process and can recycle over 500 tons of factory waste PVC every year. Our safety flooring products also contain up to 20% recycled content including post-consumer recycled glass.
Altro XpressLay is the first safety flooring that's 100% recyclable post-consumer. What that means is, after it's been installed it can be rolled up and reused elsewhere and at the end of its life we can then recycle it. So, for example, Altro XpressLay initially installed at the London 2012 Olympic games was reused as flooring for a nearby elementary school.