Materials

Altro products are manufactured using the highest quality materials

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 floors contains up to 20% recycled content, and our resin products contain up to 30% recycled content.

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 floors don't contain any substances like formaldehyde, or any heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium. Not only that, but they don’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.
 

Phthalates and bioplasticisers

All Altro products are phthalate-freeWe've always taken pride in using premium ingredients to make premium products. We were the first manufacturer to produce phthalate free safety floors and we continue to lead the market in making vinyl floors that are free from phthalate plasticisers. In the past we used a range of plasticisers – mainly non-phthalate plasticisers and a small amount of phthalate plasticisers – to give the best performance for our products. But we'd always planned on moving to a more renewable source of plasticisers, and we did this fully in 2012 – something we're very proud of.

Now, we believe that bioplasticisers 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 floors contain a bioplasticiser which comes from a renewable European resource.

Recycling

We have invested in, and installed, the world's first safety flooring recycling system. It offers a closed loop recycling process and can recycle over 500 tonnes of factory waste PVC every year. Our safety floors also contain up to 20% recycled content including post-consumer recycled glass.

Altro XpressLay is the first safety floor 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.
 

How safety flooring is recycled

Recofloor

 

Waste is an ongoing issue in the construction industry, and manufacturers need to take responsibility for their waste down the supply chain. This is why we're one of two founder members of Recofloor, the industry's vinyl take back scheme which collects safety and smooth vinyl off cuts and uplifted smooth vinyl, and diverts them from landfill.

As the first manufacturer to recycle safety flooring in-house, we collect all the safety flooring on behalf of the scheme, even if we didn't produce it. The waste vinyl flooring can come from flooring contractors, distributors and large construction sites including retail refurbishments using reverse logistics. We recycle these off cuts into new vinyl flooring, and any collected post-consumer smooth vinyl is recycled into traffic calming products like road cone bases. We launched the scheme in 2009 and by the end of 2014, Recofloor had collected and recycled over 2,500 tonnes of waste vinyl flooring.

Why take part in Recofloor?

  • Customers are becoming increasingly keen to see vinyl flooring recycled at the end of life
  • The scheme helps us, and participants, comply with the Site Waste Management legislation, (requiring all waste to be pre-treated before going to landfill)
  • It can save you a significant amount of money on disposal costs; Recofloor has a cost calculator to enable you to see how much this could be
  • Those who do participate receive a Certificate of Commitment to the scheme and can gain recognition by receiving one of our gold, silver or bronze awards
  • It feels good to be doing your bit for the environment

Find out more about Recofloor by downloading the brochure 

 

How Recofloor works

Recowall


We partnered with VEKA Recycling to set up the UK's first wall cladding recycling scheme, Recowall, which is unique in the PVC wall cladding sector. We placed recycling bins at ten Altro Whiterock Premier Installer sites around the UK, where contractors can deposit clean, adhesive-free off cuts and thermoformed corners from site. The waste is collected free of charge, processed down, palletised and recycled into new window profiles.
Since its launch in 2010, Recowall has recycled over 60 tonnes of Altro Whiterock. And although it's a much smaller scheme than Recofloor, Recowall is important because it demonstrates that Altro Whiterock can be, and is, being recycled.

Resin Flooring Association (FeRFA)


Altro Resins is part of the FeRFA initiative to halve waste to landfill in the resin flooring industry.


Recycling internationally


Recofloor has been so successful in the UK because it can take advantage of reverse logistics, which provide a cost effective way of returning material to the Altro Letchworth site for recycling. But this isn't so viable internationally, where it's often easier to take advantage of local recycling opportunities, such as Golv Atervinning in Sweden. The amount of waste collected per annum under this scheme has increased from 213 to 294 tonnes, showing a 38% growth since the scheme began in 2009.

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pvc-Bodenbelag Recycling (AgPR) recycling facility in Germany has successfully recycled vinyl flooring waste for many years too. And Recofloor has also been extended to Australia and New Zealand where, although in its infancy, it's successfully diverting waste vinyl flooring from landfill.
 

Indoor air quality and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

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 volatile 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 floors have undergone rigorous external VOC testing. It's compliant with national and international indoor air quality schemes including Ausschluss zur gesundheitlichen Bewertung von Bauprodukten (AgBB), Germany, and Swedish Building Product Declarations (BPD) and FloorScore, the indoor air quality scheme used with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in North America.
 

Sourcing

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.

PVC and sustainability

Environmentally, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) performs very well. It's made of 57% salt which is a naturally occurring and abundant substance. The other 43% is oil, and the amount of oil used in global PVC production each year forms just 0.3% of the world's total oil consumption.

The advantages of PVC based flooring

PVC is readily recyclable, and can be recycled many times over without losing its physical properties. In 2012, over 360,000 tonnes of post-consumer PVC were recycled as part of Vinyl Plus, the European PVC industry's voluntary commitment to improving the sustainability of PVC. The programme is committed to increasing the recycling of waste vinyl to 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

PVC's carbon footprint

PVC has a relatively low carbon footprint – it's about the same as everyday breakfast cereal. In fact, PVC takes less energy to manufacture than rubber, linoleum and wood-based products.

Resource efficiency

It's really important to us that we use resources efficiently. Some of the ways we do this include reducing waste, energy and water consumption, and implementing closed loop recycling processes.
 

Waste

Between 2007 and 2013 we reduced waste to landfill by 70%, and we reduced this amount by another 34% in 2013. In 2014 we achieved zero waste to landfill at our Letchworth site, two years earlier than planned. All waste generated is either recycled or incinerated with energy recovery. Plus, our Altro resins site is a part of the Resin Flooring Association (FeRFA) initiative to halve waste to landfill in the resin flooring industry.
 
And our safety flooring is wrapped using 100% recyclable packaging.
 

Water

Since 2000, we've reduced our water consumption in our manufacturing process by a massive 99%, and we installed rain water capture systems on the roof of our Letchworth manufacturing plant too.

Energy

For us energy efficiency is a key factor in product development and the manufacturing process. Our energy efficiency programmes have delivered significant carbon savings including a 7.2% saving between 2007 and 2009 and a further 4% in 2011. To take us to the next level we are now working with the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at the University at Cambridge to identify ways in which we can reduce our energy consumption.
 

Accreditation

Environmental certification schemes

BREEAM

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), is the world's leading environmental certification scheme and sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design. Our flooring products form part of the materials category of a BREEAM assessment. All of our safety floors and Altro Whiterock wall cladding products are compliant with HEA02 Indoor Air Quality under BREEAM.

Altro Suprema was the first safety flooring to achieve a top BREEAM rating. Generic ratings of A+ to E have been assigned to products via life cycle assessment – A+ being the best as it has the lowest environmental impact. These ratings are listed within BRE Global's Green Guide to Specification, and the Green Guide ratings for Altro's floor finishes are listed above.