In recent years, the flooring industry has increasingly recognised the importance of considering sustainability in its business operations. Specifying sustainable products and services benefits not only the company that has implemented these actions, but also the wider community in recycling and reusing valuable resources that helps to preserve the environment.
For construction companies and building contractors working with vinyl flooring, especially on large commercial projects, embracing recycling initiatives like Recofloor offers a simple yet effective solution to reduce waste generated from project sites and contribute to a greener environment.
Established in 2009 by flooring manufacturers Altro and Polyflor, Recofloor is a UK-wide take-back collection scheme that aims to promote vinyl flooring circularity. By participating in the scheme, construction and flooring contractors can ensure that waste vinyl flooring gets a second life. Recovering PVC for future use helps reduce the demand for raw materials.
Recofloor is easy to use, improves sustainability of any project, saves money on disposal costs and enhances participants’ green credentials. With growing pressure on the construction industry to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency, Recofloor offers an environmentally friendly and circular disposal solution for many types of vinyl flooring.
The nation-wide scheme collects a range of flooring types, such as Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT), smooth, safety and loose lay vinyl offcuts and roll-ends as well as uplifted smooth and loose lay vinyl.
Benefits of engaging with Recofloor
Reducing environmental impact:
Collecting waste vinyl flooring for recycling diverts it from landfill, helping to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. By reusing the material in new flooring and other products, Recofloor helps to preserve resources.
Since its inception, Recofloor has collected a total of 6,770 tonnes of waste vinyl flooring, equivalent to nearly 2,500,000m2 of flooring – enough to cover 37,611 average-sized UK classrooms or 237 hospital patient wards. This remarkable achievement has resulted in CO2 savings of 7,942 tonnes, equivalent to taking 2,073 cars off the road each year.
Choosing recycling over landfill is also good for your business. Collecting acceptable commercial vinyl flooring waste for recycling can help you save on waste disposal costs, such as skip hire and gate fees.
For example, a typical 2,000m2 installation project generates just over half a tonne of waste vinyl flooring, the equivalent to cover three average-sized UK classrooms. Collecting this material in Recofloor bulk bags would cost £52.50 versus £255 for an eight cubic yard skip. This represents a saving of around £202.50 or 79% when using Recofloor.
Altro and Polyflor launched Recofloor to create a sustainable and cost-effective solution to waste vinyl flooring and divert it from landfill. They are fully committed to their circular economy goals by developing sustainable flooring options that are more readily recyclable, as well as working collaboratively to fund and grow the Recofloor scheme throughout the UK.
By deploying Recofloor on multiple projects, the benefits and savings add up.
Recognition for your efforts and publicity for your business:
The scheme provides its members with a Membership Certificate highlighting their participation. Members can also request a Statement Letter which includes volumes collected from specific projects.
In addition, Recofloor host its annual Recofloor awards where it recognises Recofloor users across the industry, plus there is always an opportunity to feature in a Recofloor case study.
All these can work as a great tool to boost your profile and raise awareness.
Implementing Recofloor on your projects:
Specifying and deploying Recofloor on projects, whether large or small, is straightforward for flooring contractors, fitter and construction companies. Collaboration and communication between all parties, including Recofloor are essential for the scheme’s success to keep everyone informed of progress, updates, or changes to working practices.
Construction companies or specifiers wanting to benefit from the usage of Recofloor for the disposal of their waste vinyl flooring can do this by simply including a short statement on their tender documents highlighting a recommendation to use Recofloor. This ensures that flooring contractors tendering for the work include the usage of the scheme as part of their quote.
Alternative, flooring contractors could also introduce Recofloor to their clients as an additional service, which helps boost their profile as it can help their clients save money, and improve theirs and their clients’ sustainability credentials.
To use the service, companies simply need to sign up with Recofloor and agree collection arrangements. The Recofloor team will be able to assess your project and the site to advice on the best collection containers; offer help, resources and Toolkit Talks to explain the scheme ensuring a smooth and successful implementation to all relevant parties.
Once the agreement has been in place, members need to order the collection containers and deploy the scheme on a project to collect waste in Recofloor containers. When containers are full, book a collection. Bulk waste can be collected in one go, or at stages during a project.
Altro and Polyflor support the scheme by using their vehicles to backhaul the Recofloor collections, where possible, when new flooring is delivered.
All the material collected by Recofloor goes back to Polyflor and Altro’s UK plants for sorting. Suitable material is recycled into new flooring, while the rest is sent to a UK recycler for use in traffic management products, such as traffic cones and sign bases.
Recofloor holds permits and exemptions for moving the waste from the project sites or from contractor’s premises to Altro or Polyflor sites where the material is sorted for recycling. If the flooring contractor is transporting the waste back to their premises, the flooring contractor should hold a lower tier waste carrier license. The license is free to apply, but Recofloor does not hold a copy of this, so the flooring contractor will have to supply this to the construction company if this is required.
Recofloor: Success in action
Recofloor has notched up numerous success stories on all types of projects, showcasing participants’ achievements, as well as demonstrating how the flooring industry and wider construction industries can benefit from using the scheme. You can find numerous examples of where the scheme has been successfully deployed on all types of projects by visiting www.recofloor.org
Example is NHS Grampian’s new Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre. Veitchi Flooring, the contractor responsible for laying 23,000 m2 of Polyflor vinyl, is successfully saving around 2,300 square metres of vinyl offcuts from landfill by deploying Recofloor on site – an area similar to the size of 10 tennis courts by the time the project finishes.
Veitchi deployed the scheme with support from main contractor GRAHAM Construction.
Ed Murison, Veitchi Flooring Contracts Manager says the Recofloor scheme makes it simple for them to play their part in driving change and introducing green initiatives. He adds: “Recycling vinyl is a no-brainer. We will definitely be using Recofloor’s on-site collection service for other large projects in future!”
Fiona Walker, GRAHAM Construction’s Environmental Advisor comments that Veitchi’s use of the Recofloor scheme is a “great example of how supply chain support can help us reach our target of a 50% reduction in construction waste by 2030.”
Similarly, JDS Properties & Developments Ltd used Recofloor to collect waste vinyl flooring offcuts – Altro Wood adhesive-free – during the construction of a school in Cornwall. Not only did this align with their commitment to becoming more carbon zero and environmentally friendly, but it also helped reduce their disposal costs, making their operations more cost-effective.
Camborne-based JDS Properties & Developments Ltd completed three new classrooms and a kitchen extension. Director Jonathan Rogers was made aware of the Recofloor scheme through Andrew Stevens of All Floors Cornwall, their flooring contractor, who had already used Recofloor on several projects.
Jonathan states that Recofloor fits in with their company philosophy to move towards being more carbon zero and environmentally friendly in their operations, adding: “Collecting the waste vinyl flooring for recycling through Recofloor also helps with our disposal costs, making us more cost-effective and, of course, helping the environment.”
Andrew comments: “I fit a lot of Altro and Polyflor flooring. It’s easy for me to take the waste vinyl to my distributor’s premises due to proximity rather than paying for someone to take it or put it in a skip. The scheme saves me money because it costs a fortune to dispose of waste, so when it goes back through Recofloor, it doesn’t cost anything. It’s ideal for everyone!”
A Greener Future with Recofloor
Recofloor plays a vital role in helping participants to contribute to a greener outlook for the sector by reducing the carbon footprint of their activities through recycling waste vinyl flooring. By engaging with the scheme, building and construction companies can enhance their green credentials, cut disposal costs and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Recofloor Manager, Carla Eslava emphasises that the initiative goes beyond being a mere collection scheme, saying: “It forms a core part of many companies’ sustainability commitments in the flooring sector and the team is proud yo contribute to advancing sustainability in the industry.”
In conclusion, embracing recycling through Recofloor offers a win-win situation for businesses involved with vinyl flooring. It not only supports their environmental goals but also fosters a more economically viable and greener outlook for the entire construction sector.