It seems that everywhere you turn these days, someone is claiming that their product is green. The problem is that many of these claims can be misleading, and environmentalists have coined a new term to describe this process: "greenwashing." Greenwashing merges the words "green," representing environmental friendliness, and "whitewashing," representing the covering up of wrongdoing. In simplified terms, greenwashing is falsely claiming a product is environmentally
friendly when it's not.
The reason for this is clear: consumers are demanding the use of green products, but often don't understand what green means. Being "green" is much more than just being a rapidly renewable material. To truly recognize a product's "greenness," one must look at its entire life cycle, from cradle to grave. It's not a matter of simply whether raw materials can be replaced quickly, but how those materials are used when making a finished product, and what happens to them once their useful life is over.
Wood flooring is the only flooring option available that is completely sustainable. It comes from a factory called a forest, and uses a renewable source of energy called the sun. Most hardwood trees, the material used to make wood floors, take 40-60 years to mature, and while those trees are maturing, they produce oxygen. Best of all, because wood floors can last hundreds of years, the inventory planted today will be ready to harvest long before it is needed.
Solid wood floors also use very few natural resources when being produced, which adds to their eco-friendliness. They use less water and energy to manufacture than other flooring alternatives, and when they reach the end of their usefulness, wood floors can be burned for fuel or recycled.
To learn more about the many ecological benefits of wood floors, from cradle to grave, visit the National Wood Flooring Association's web site at http://www.nwfa.org, and click on the ''What's New'' link.