Sustainable Flooring 101 10 Ways To Keep Things Green Underfoot

Choosing flooring for a space doesn’t always have to steer you in the direction of harsh chemicals and synthetic materials. In fact, there are many sustainable flooring options currently available on the market. Here’s a look at 10 sustainable flooring solutions that offer practical and beautiful flooring you can feel good about using:

1. Linoleum

Natural linoleum is comprised of a linseed oil mixture that often combines with resins and wood fillers to make tiles for flooring. In addition to offering a mixture of colors and designs to fit any room’s aesthetic, anyone using linoleum to line their floor can benefit from the many perks this natural flooring option has to offer, too.

Linoleum is durable and strong — meaning it won’t fall prey to easy wear. Plus, it’s fire-retardant, water-resistant and a great option for anyone with allergies or asthma, too.

sustainable flooring
This bamboo flooring is soft underfoot and long-lasting as well as sustainable and affordable. Credit: Falcon Structures

2. Bamboo

Bamboo checks the list when it comes to style, functionality and sustainability.

As a flooring option, bamboo is quickly becoming a favored choice in offices, homes and various other buildings. While bamboo resembles hardwood, this grass-like material takes a fraction of the time to grow. This means bamboo is more readily available yet still offers the traditional appeal to any floor.

3. Rubber

When made sustainably, rubber flooring can be recycled into flooring that lines gyms, playgrounds and any space requiring a smooth surface.

Today, many homeowners are finding ways to incorporate recycled rubber into their own private spaces, too. Rubber is an excellent source for flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, sunrooms and more.

4. Wool Carpet

If you’re looking for a soft, cozy and sustainable carpet option, wool is your go-to choice. While some of the other carpets that dominate the flooring market have reason to cause alarm due to toxins in their composition, wool carpet is natural and eco-friendly.

5. Cork

Corks aren’t just for keeping wine fresh anymore. Derived from the bark of cork oak trees, cork substances now find their way into the composition of stunning flooring designs. As an added bonus, cork is naturally water-resistant and won’t fall victim to destruction caused by termites or bugs.

6. Glass

When you throw out your empty Snapple or bottle of champagne, you likely aren’t thinking about the fact that these glass bottles may one day become flooring instead.

But, recycled glass tiles are on the rise. This eco-friendly flooring option is a flattering option for kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms desiring a classy design with a non-absorptive surface.

7. Recycled Flooring

One of the most sustainable ways to add flooring to your home is by repurposing old wood that will now see a second life.

Consider using reclaimed hardwood to add a traditional feel to your space. Plus, there’s something unique and cool about using wood with a history behind it. Shop around and make sure that the wood you’re repurposing wasn’t ever treated with toxic chemicals in its previous building.

8. Natural Fiber Carpets

When it comes to fiber carpet options, consumers face two options — synthetic or natural. While the feel and appearance of the two may seem similar, natural carpets are more eco-friendly. Plus, they don’t require man-made materials since the fibers used in their production grow right from nature!

9. Leather

Leather isn’t just for jackets and stylish purses. Today, this cowhide-based material makes it way into the flooring that furnishes the homes of countless homeowners, too.

Leather is notoriously known as a durable material — which makes it the perfect sustainable flooring option. Plus, it ages well and adds an aesthetic appeal to any room it lines, too.

10. Polyester Berber Carpet

Polyester Berber Carpet, also referred to as P.E.T, is a type of carpet that possesses a 100% recycled composition. Designers use recycled bottle caps, tires and plastic to make rugs and carpet that provide flooring in buildings.

Did you know that an astonishing 91% of plastic isn’t recycled? Buying a P.E.T carpet can help reduce this percentage and help keep recyclable products out of landfills by repurposing them instead.

Choosing eco-friendly carpeting and flooring can make a space both green and gorgeous. Which of the ideas mentioned above will you add to your space?


Emily Folk is the editor of Conservation Folks. She writes on topics of sustainability, conservation and green technology.