Assessing Resilient Flooring for Sustainability: Introducing a New Standard

The new NSF/ANSI Standard 332-2010 provides a consistent framework in which to compare and assess the sustainable nature of different products within the context of performing similar functions.
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End-of-Product-Life Management Category Scoring Criteria

Up to 10 points are available under this category which is intended to encourage product reclamation and recycling for resilient flooring. There are two subcategories with no prerequisites as follows:

Reclamation Feasibility

The intent here is to ensure that existing and new resilient flooring products can be collected, processed, recycled and/or composted within the existing materials recycling infrastructure.

Product(s) recyclability or compostability. The manufacturer can receive up to 2 points for demonstrating that post-consumer collected material (including installation waste) can be: (1) recycled into a different product(s) group (e.g., vinyl tile into car bumpers); (2) composted or otherwise converted into a beneficial soil amendment (e.g., gypsum, wood dust); (3) recycled into a similar product(s) (e.g., vinyl tile into vinyl tile); or (4) recycled into a complementary product(s) group (e.g. vinyl tile into carpet tile). Recyclability claims must show that the recycled material can comprise at least 5 percent by weight of the new product(s). Composting claims must conform to ASTM D6400.

Post-consumer collection operations. For products that have been available for sale for ten years or more, the manufacturer can demonstrate that the product(s) (including installation waste) is being collected for recycling or composting through ongoing collection operations. For new products (e.g., those with a market presence of less than 10 years), the manufacturer shall demonstrate preparation and implementation of a post-consumer collection and recovery plan. The manufacturer can receive either one point for demonstrating conforming activities within 200 miles of at least two major metropolitan areas or two points for demonstrating conforming activities for a national area.Product Reclamation and StewardshipThe intent of this sub-category is to encourage the diversion of flooring materials from landfills, and to promote the redirection of material resources into new products instead.

Post-consumer reclamation. The manufacturer can receive one point for up to 2% post-consumer reclamation; two points for 3 percent or 4 percent post-consumer reclamation; or, at a maximum, three points for 5 percent or greater post-consumer reclamation. To qualify, the manufacturer must document, calculate, and report the product(s) post-consumer reclamation rate of products based on details set forth in the standard. Corporate investment in reclamation. The manufacturer can receive points for the percent of their revenue (annual average, maximum five-year averaging) that it commits to documented activities associated with improving the reclamation rate of its products. The manufacturer can receive one point for 0.05 percent of their revenue invested, two points for 0.10 percent of their revenue invested, or a maximum of three points for 0.15 percent or more of their revenue invested. Qualifying activities include research and development in materials processing and new product(s) development (using reclaimed materials); purchase and installation of processing equipment to be used wholly or in part for the processing of reclaimed flooring materials, including composting grinding equipment; and other quantifiable financial support of post-consumer material collection, processing, and manufacturing activities (including ongoing labor expenses).

Corporate Governance Category Scoring Criteria

The criteria in this category are focused on encouraging corporate social responsibility in terms of providing a desirable workplace, being involved in the local community, and demonstrating financial health. A total of 12 points are available in four sub-categories after satisfying the three prerequisites that prohibit discrimination, forced labor and child labor. For purposes of this category, manufacturer is interpreted as a parent corporation, a manufacturing plant, and/or a business unit.

Public Commitment to Sustainability

These criteria demonstrate corporate/organizational leadership in public disclosure and transparency of key environmental and social accountability objectives and data. The information described below can be released as part of the company's annual report, available to all who request a copy, or available online from the company's website.

Preliminary disclosure. The manufacturer can receive one point for publicly releasing one of several forms of standardized information about their environmental management and social accountability performance, and life-cycle assessment findings.

Comprehensive disclosure (Corporate Level). The manufacturer can receive one point for demonstrating it has publicly released a corporate or plant annual sustainability report per the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative of the United Nations Environment Program or its annual environmental and social accountability targets and achievements.

Employer Responsibility

Employee turnover (Plant Level). One point is available for quantifying and reporting the average employee turnover rate (per year or two-year rolling average).

Employee injury rate (Plant Level). One point is available for quantifying and declaring the average employee injury rate (per year or two-year rolling average) including occupational accidents, injuries, illnesses and disease.

Right to collective bargaining (Plant Level). One point is available for demonstrating compliance with the National Labor Relations Act requirements or the internationally recognized equivalent.

The criteria for corporate management address social and management responsibilities and concerns.

Photos courtesy of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute


Living wages/remuneration (Plant Level). A manufacturer can receive one point for demonstrating that non-management personnel wages are sufficient to meet basic needs of personnel and provide some discretionary income plus demonstrating that wages are paid directly to employees, with full disclosure of any required or authorized deductions (e.g., taxes, health care benefits, and retirement investments).

Community Engagement (Plant Level) Community financial investment. A manufacturer can receive one point for investing 10 percent or more of its net income in the community. This requires that a manufacturer declare this investment, as defined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, based on the average three-year rolling monetary value provided to the communities where the majority of employees reside by means of state and local taxes paid plus direct contributions (e.g., grants and investments). Employee salaries and other employee remuneration are excluded from this calculation. Taxes or investments made at the state level do not qualify unless specifically designated for allocation to the community.


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Originally published in Architectural Record