November 14th, 2008

Greenwashing is a term that has been used for over twenty years to deceive consumers into thinking a product is more ‘environmentally friendly’ than what it really is or what a company’s environmental practices really are. Tile is indisputably ‘green’ in nature, because it is made from minerals, stones and clays from the earth, however, greenwashing still runs rampant through the tile industry. While there have been many successes in the tile industry, environmental claims have been over stated. The most common forms of greenwashing in the tile industry are:

* Inflated recycled content claims without proof.
* Inaccurate information about the manufacturing process.
* Claims that products are LEED approved or recycled without independant certification.

It’s important to understand projects, not products, are LEED certified. You need to ask critical questions to ascertain the true eco value of the material.

* Most importantly, is the product independently certified by a third party?
* What is the origin of the raw materials in the tile?
* Does the manufacturer use renewable energy sources? What are their conservation practices?
* What air quality emissions are produced in the manufacture of the tile? Does it have VOCs?
* Do they reclaim any waste material?
* What is the actual recycled content percentage? Is it post-industrial or post-consumer?
* Where is the tile produced and how far does it travel to get to its final installation destination?

Third party verification is the most transparent way to prove a tile’s ‘green-ness.’ These are companies such as Greenguard, Veritas, Greenseal and Scientific Certification Systems. Aside from providing a contribution to the quality of life, verification assures that products are made with resources that have been carefully managed, gives you the personal knowledge that you’re doing the right thing. It is important to understand that green building projects have direct & indirect liability based on product selection and without diligence the project certification can be compromised. With all the certified eco-friendly products offered at Lexco Tile & Stone, there is no need to compromise your project’s integrity with products that are questionable. Call your sales rep today to find out more about these products.