How to Dispose of Laminate Flooring
While it’s true that 80% of laminate flooring is made of wood, it still can’t be burnt or incinerated just like typical wood products. The top layer of laminates contains an aluminum oxide coating, which would burn the air and be harmful for breathing. This is why burning laminate materials should be avoided as much as possible, for the sake of our health and the environment. In this regard, laminate flooring can be considered toxic since the adhesive that bonds with the wood and the top layer contain and emit chemicals.
So how do you dispose of laminate flooring without harming your health and the environment? Leftover laminate materials and old flooring can be disposed of in other ways via waste collection, recycling, and upcycling. These would effectively take the laminate floor leftovers off your hands and properly dispose of them without compromising health and safety standards. Any other option is better than burning, which is a no-no for hazardous waste.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
It will help to know what laminate flooring is to be able to understand better why it’s not a good idea to burn it for disposal. Laminate flooring is a composite flooring material made of multiple layers. Usually, it’s designed to look just like real wood to add style and value to your property while bearing the wear and tear that comes naturally. There are different kinds of laminate flooring and each has its own set of pros and cons, but generally, laminate flooring is considered a durable, economical, and low-maintenance material.
Laminate flooring is made of three layers: a dense core or baser layer, a high-resolution photo-realistic image layer, and a protective wear layer. It’s the top layer that’s the issue here when it comes to the subject of burning laminates since this is the part where the aluminum oxide coating is.
This type of flooring isn’t fireproof since it’s made of joined layers of pressed wood fiber which are covered with decorative foil. These are attached together with a melamine resin and then varnished with a layer of defensive coating. Now, these layers have phenol and formaldehyde, which can produce lethal gases like nitrogen oxide. This makes your laminate flooring flammable, although it will combust mildly because the material burns slowly and at a lower temperature.
Is Laminate Flooring Toxic?
It’s toxic and like the plastic bag, it can be considered household hazardous waste since the material is made using wood-bonding adhesives that can be harmful to humans and animals. The adhesive comprises melamine resin formaldehyde, cyanuric acid, isocyanates, and aluminum oxide. Inhaling these can cause health problems. The adhesive also contains formaldehyde, which can be broken down into urea-formaldehyde UF, phenol-formaldehyde PF, and melamine-formaldehyde MF. According to the U.S. National Toxicology Program, formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen. Isocyanate is a potential carcinogen. Meanwhile, aluminum oxide causes asthma, while melamine and cyanuric acid can lead to irreversible kidney damage.
Ways to Properly Get Rid of Old or Used Laminate Flooring
You can dispose of laminate materials properly either by letting the waste collection take them, recycling them, or upcycling them. Doing these steps will allow you to get rid of your laminates with minimal hassle.
- Waste collection — There are usually leftover materials after installation, which can be disposed of through the usual solid waste collection in your household. If the leftover laminate is still in good shape, consider keeping some because you can use that in case you need to replace one or two of your planks due to scratches or water damage. There are instances that manufacturers will stop producing certain styles of laminate flooring. So if this happens to you, your excess laminates will definitely come in handy as replacements. Imagine not being able to replace your entire floor just because you don’t have a replacement for your existing one.If the leftovers are too much, say a whole box of them, you can try selling them online. If what you need to dispose of can’t be accommodated by your garbage receptacle, you can contact your waste disposal department and request special pick-ups for your several square foot of leftovers. If they don’t have such an arrangement, you may have to drop them off at the landfill yourself, just like what you would do with construction waste.
- Recycling — Technology has made it possible to recycle laminate flooring for up to 85% of its mass. It can be put back into the manufacturing process in the form of fibers or wood chips. But it doesn’t mean you can just put your old laminate flooring in your recycling bin since the recycling process needed for laminate flooring is probably more than your local recycling facility or recycling centre can handle. You may need to call the manufacturer of your laminate flooring and inquire if they have a recycling program in place for your material. If you’re lucky enough, they can even come over and pick the leftover laminates from your house.
- Upcycling — If you love DIY stuff, then you can probably think of other ways to use your leftover laminate materials. For your DIY waste upcycling, turn the old laminate planks into smaller stuff such as coat racks, coasters, and welcome signs.
Just like other leftover or debris materials such as old carpet, there are many ways to reuse or repurpose your leftover hardwood flooring. You can make a tabletop and jazz up your kitchen table. You can also use the leftover wood planks of your old floor as wainscoting for a smaller room. The excess wood waste as recyclable materials can also cover a ceiling or accent wall, which is just perfect if you like the look of solid wood walls or ceilings in your home.
Learn more: How to Make a Headboard From Laminate Flooring
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