Natural Linoleum

May 30, 2008

Linoleum aka Natural Linoleum

Compiled by Manina Dodd

General Info:

Linoleum was invented by Frederick Walton in Staines, England, in 1860. It remains in production as one of the few washable flooring surfaces which are made of natural ingredients. Linoleum flooring is made from solidified linseed oil, mixed with resins, ground limestone, wood flour, and cork dust. After mixing, these materials are applied to a burlap or canvas backing, and pressed between rollers in a process known as calendering. Users should not be alarmed if the newly laid linoleum gives off an oily smell, similar to fresh paint, or if it has a yellow tinge known as ‘ambering’. Both these effects are temporary. Linoleum flooring is available as sheet or tiles, for glueing down, or as rigid click-together panels having a linoleum surface on a fiberboard and cork base. Vinyl flooring is sometimes generically referred to as “linoleum,” so be sure to request “natural linoleum.”


Natural Linoleum

Made of Natural Ingredients

Offgassing from Natural Oils

Renewable and Biodegradable

Durable and Self Healing

30-40 Year Lifespan

Color is embedded deep in the surface adding to durability.

Many more color choices available now providing greater competition with vinyl.

Vinyl Flooring

Made of Synthetic Ingredients

Offgassing from Petroleum Distillates

Production and Incineration Creates Dioxin

Lower Durability

0-20 Year Lifespan

Color sits on top and wears off faster.

Vibrant and wide range of colors and textures.

Natural Linoleum can generally be classed as nature friendly or definitely a “green” alternative to vinyl because a Life Cycle Analysis shows that it:

•uses natural raw materials that are rapidly renewable

•primary energy carriers such as mineral oil and gas are not needed in the product although they are used in the manufacturing and shipping (from Europe where its manufactured)

•it does not damage the ozone layer with toxic offgasing

•it has a long lifespan and thus reduces waste products

•it does not result in toxic waste and might be composted; there are some moves to use the incineration of it to produce power

•can be installed with low or no voc waterbased adhesives

•not sure of Fair Trade status, some discussion

1) Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) quantifies the potential environmental impact of a product system over the lifecycle

Added benefits:

•linseed oil is an inherent anti-microbial so it is useful in kitchens, bathrooms and hospitals;

•lineoleum is inherently anti-static and therefore repels dust and dirt

•it is easy to maintain with sweeping and damp mopping with a neutral soap; can be further protected by using a recommended sealer

•if the floor gets scratched, it can be repaired with buffing and a coating of sealer

•it actually increases in strength overtime

•wont melt or ignite except at extremely high temperatures

•comparable in price to high end vinyl


•while it does not emit toxic gasses, it does emit ordor that may be irritating to acutely chemically sensitive people and children; this can be mitigated somewhat by allowing for ventilation between installation and occupancy

•installation can be tricky especially in sheet form and should be done by experienced installers; less of a problem with tiles

•care needs to be taken that sub-flooring is not prone to moisture so locations such as basements may not be appropriate if there is a potential for moisture to seep in

•its important for linoleum to “acclimate” for at least a week prior to installation


The following leading linoleum flooring suppliers have comprehensive websites, with information on all aspects of linoleum flooring, including online catalogs, colours and materials for linoleum flooring, and care and maintenance of linoleum flooring.

Forbo: Linoleum Flooring. Forbo is a leading manufacturer of linoleum flooring under the Marmoleum brand name. Marmoleum, which has been manufactured for more than 100 years, is made from natural raw materials. These include linseed oil, rosins, and wood flour, calendered onto a natural jute backing. It is highly resistant to rolling loads and foot traffic. Marmoleum linoleum flooring is available in two forms: Marmoleum Sheet, and Marmoleum Click. Marmoleum Click takes the form of 12” by 36” panels, or 12” by 12” squares. The panels and squares consist of natural linoleum on HDF with a cork layer; they can be locked together with a simple click system which does not require glue.

Armstrong: Linoleum Flooring. Armstrong World Industries, with more than 13,000 employees, and 48 plants in ten countries, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of flooring, including linoleum flooring. Armstrong linoleum flooring is made from linseed, resins, ground limestone, and wood or cork powder. After pressing, the linoleum is cured in ovens for 14 to 21 days. Armstrong linoleum flooring is available in sheets 6’ 7” wide, in 12 colors including: Holly Green, Aleutian Green, Parchment Beige, Firebird Red, Bluebird, Silver Grey, Silver Mist, Silver Moon, Bamboo Tan, and Yellow Straw. Linoleum Flooring., which is a division of Eco-Products Inc., based in Boulder, Colorado, is an online retailer of Forbo Marmoleum linoleum flooring. It also sells borders, corners, adhesives, floor cleaners, and floor finish, suitable for use with linoleum flooring. The Marmoleum linoleum flooring is available in 79” wide sheets, and in 13” square tiles. The sheet and tiles need to be glued down. It also supplies Marmoleum Click Panels, which are available in 12” square or 12” by 36” rectangles. The wide range of colors are grouped into: Blue, Grey, Green, Sunset, and Neutral.




ARmstrong World Industries, Marmorette, (800) 233-3823

Tarkett Inc., Azrock Linosom, (800) 366-2689

Forbo Industries, Inc., Marmoleum Marmorette (800) 842-7839


Abbey Carpet of San Francisco, 3100 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA (415) 752-6620

Anderson Carpet and Linoleum Sales, 4101 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611, (510) 652-1032

Berkeley Design Center, 3195 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703, (510) 652-6064

Blodgett’s Floorcovering, 3291 Mt. Diablo Court, Lafayette, CA 94549, (925) 284-4807

Conklin Brothers, 2999 Teagarden, San Leandro, CA 94577, (510) 357-1090

Conklin Bros. of Fremont, 40760 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, CA 94538, (510) 651-2166

Linoleum Larry’s Inc., 2598 Lombard St., San Francisco, CA 94123, (415) 921-4937

McCurley’s – Shaw Floor Covering, 3191-M Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon, CA 94583, (925) 866-2200,

Shaw Carpet and Flooring Center/Concord Discount Floors, 2395-J Monument Blvd., Concord, CA 94520, (925) 680-7538

Prosource, 1340 Galaxy Way, Suite L, Concord, CA 94520, (925) 609-9448 www.pswholesalecom Note: Contractor membership required

Prosource, 3051 Teagarden, San Leandro, CA 94577, (510) 614-9435


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Bottled Water

May 30, 2008

by Nancy Nashed

Bottled Water, the production, and consumption, has become a very serious issue, affecting the environment more than most people realize. Below is a summary of how serious this has become, followed by a suggestion to purchase a reusable water bottle, and 2 recommended companies where you can find exactly the right bottle for your specific needs.

Read on to find out how the water bottling industry is dealing with the frightening numbers as well.


Pouring Resources Down the Drain

Emily Arnold and Janet Larsen

The global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from the 98 billion liters consumed five years earlier. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy. Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline.

The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion liters in 2004, or approximately one 8-ounce glass per person every day. Mexico has the second highest consumption, at 18 billion liters. China and Brazil follow, at close to 12 billion liters each. Ranking fifth and sixth in consumption are Italy and Germany, using just over 10 billion liters of bottled water each. (See data.)

Fossil fuels are also used in the packaging of water. The most commonly used plastic for making water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year.* Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.

Kleen Kanteen: The Stainless Steel Alternative to Plastic

Our reusable, lightweight, non-leaching & toxin-free 18oz stainless steel bottle, also known as the Kid Kanteen, is designed for small hands and comes with your choice of a loop, flat or sports drinking cap made from safe, non-leaching polypropylene (pp#5). Weighs 6 ounces.

Product Features

• safe alternative to plastic and lined metal containers

• high-quality food grade 304 L.N. stainless steel

• durable, lightweight, reusable and 100% recyclable

• slim design fits most cup/bottle holders

• non-leaching & toxin-free

• no inner lining, clean tasting

SIGG Swiss Engineered Water Bottle

Choose from all the SIGG water bottle designs available, select the lid and accessories you like and create a SIGG that matches your style. Afterall, it’s not what you drink, it’s what you drink it in.

SIGG combines 100 years of Swiss quality & craftsmanship with a fresh, fun perspective on contemporary style – delivering a water bottle with both function AND fashion!

Plus using a premium reusable bottle like SIGG greatly helps reduce unnecessary environmental waste caused by plastic PET water bottles. Sadly, Americans add over 30 million plastic water bottles to our nation’s landfills – everyday!

While not everyone is ready to purchase a hybrid vehicle, we believe every little bit helps. And thinking “reusable” instead of “disposable” is a great place to start. So, Rise Above Plastic – and consider the advantages of hydrating with a SIGG.


Extruded from a single piece of aluminum, our innovative SIGG Lifestyle Water Bottles is surprisingly rugged, crack-resistant and completely reusable and recyclable. A ground-breaking interior lining is 100% effective against leaching and combats residue build-up, so your SIGG Lifestyle Bottle is easy to clean and ensures that all you taste is the water, juice or the energy drink that you just poured into the bottle, even after its been sitting in the Sun!


lightweight, durable, eco-friendly, leak-proof water bottle in a subtly, sophisticated style. Extruded from a single piece of aluminum and coated with a patented secret formula liner, this water bottle will not leach anything harmful into your beverage. It will not give your beverage any plastic taste or overtone.


Independently tested and declared The World’s Toughest Water Bottle, our SIGG-brand sports bottles are lightweight and extremely durable. A noted favorite of professional athletes and active folks alike! These reusable aluminum bottles will fit most cup holders & bike cages and our active bottle top makes drinking on the go leak-proof and easy! This eco-friendly bottle has a special leach-proof lining that will keep your beverage fresh and the taste pure long after the marathon or spin class.

Our SIGG Thermal Bottle Collection brings you the best double walled insulated bottles and Metro Mugs on the market. Fill them with the steamy soup or beverage of your choice. Our stylish, eco friendly and reusable thermal bottles and mugs are engineered to be the absolute best money can buy. Designed by the Swiss company Sigg, our insulated bottle and mug collection keeps your hot beverages, like coffee – super hot for up to 6 hours, or your iced drinks cold for up to 10 hours…really!

What’s going on in the Bottled Water Market:

Water Bottles Slim Down

It’s not uncommon for bottled-water companies to tout the purity of their waters. But one giant bottler has gone one step further: boasting about the bottles themselves.

Nestlé claims it offers the lightest half-liter bottles in the U.S. market. Earlier this year, it introduced new, sculpted bottles with labels stating they contain “30% less plastic.” On Web sites for its brands Poland Spring, Ozarka, Arrowhead and Ice Mountain, Nestlé clarifies that this isn’t a 30% reduction from the old model, which is still in distribution; instead, its new “Eco-Shape Bottle” has 30% less plastic “than the average half-liter bottle.”

The Eco-Shape Bottle To achieve these savings, Nestlé redesigned its bottles with what Nestlé spokeswoman Jane Lazgin called a “pinched waist.” That combines with ribs that are vertical and angled rather than horizontal, to create a “spring-like mechanism” that keeps the lighter bottle from being crushed when in transit, Ms. Lazgin said.

But how much lighter is the bottle? It weighs 14% less than its 14.5-gram predecessor. Nestlé is basing the 30% claim on a comparison with competitors it commissioned this spring from the market-research company Tragon. At my request, Nestlé shared a summary of that report. And taken on its face, the report does support the company’s claim of 30% less plastic than the average half-liter bottle. But there are a number of caveats: The 30% claim holds up when the Eco-Shape Bottle is compared with bottles containing all sorts of beverages, yet carbonated beverages are heavier by design, to seal in the CO2. When the competitive field is limited to just water bottles, the bottle falls slightly short of the 30% claim, and the comparison is skewed by a few especially heavy competitors — some of whose manufacturers say they’ve lightened their bottles since the study was conducted.

In March and April, Tragon bought half-liter bottles in 12 markets for dozens of brands of water, sodas, flavored water drinks and other beverages. Auditors emptied them, discarded the cap and sent them to a central lab for weighing. The results: Water bottles’ mass ranged from a low of 12.26 grams for Nestlé’s Ozarka, using the Eco-Shape Bottle, to a high of 25.94 grams for Fiji Water’s boxy bottle; the mean of all bottles excluding Nestlé’s is 17.31 grams, making the Ozarka bottle 29% lighter. (The other bottles are 41% heavier, on average; that’s a quirk of percentages, similar to how a 20% sale means the original price was 25% higher than the discounted price.) The reduction is 23% when Eco-Shape is compared with the median of other bottles, a measure that minimizes the skewing effects of the heaviest bottles.

Nestlé isn’t the only water bottler to reduce plastic content, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in August — meaning the study may already be out of date. I contacted the makers of the four heaviest water bottles in the Nestlé study. Dave DeCecco, a spokesman for PepsiCo’s Aquafina, said the company hadn’t sold for five years a bottle that weighed as much as the 21.6 grams measured by Tragon. (Nestlé re-checked the numbers and stood by its 21.6-gram estimate, Ms. Lazgin told me.) Deja Blue has reduced its 23.8 gram bottles to 19 grams since the study, said Chris Barnes, a spokesman for Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. Scott Vitters, Coca-Cola’s director of sustainable packaging, said Dasani has begun replacing its 18.2-gram bottles with lighter ones weighing 13.8 grams. Meanwhile, Thomas Mooney, senior vice president of sustainable growth for Fiji Water Co., said he had “no factual issue” with the Tragon numbers, but noted that last month Fiji announced it would reduce the amount of packaging in its products by 20% in the next three years.

For the non-water drinks, none of the brands used a bottle that weighed less than 22 grams, so the Ozarka bottle was about 50% lighter than average — a justification for Ms. Lazgin’s claim that Nestlé’s estimate is “very conservative.” But that’s not a fair comparison, Coca-Cola’s Mr. Vitters told me, because a heavier bottle is needed to “retain the carbonation.” Ms. Lazgin said that’s partly the point: The message to consumers is, “if you’re going to choose a packaged beverage, if you choose bottled water, that’s the one that’s the most healthful, and the one that uses the least plastic.”

The other water companies also pointed out that the plastic content of their bottles isn’t the definitive measure of environmental responsibility. Fiji’s Mr. Mooney said his company’s block-shaped bottles pack in trucks more efficiently, meaning more water can be transported at once. And Mr. Vitters said Coca-Cola strives to balance the size of its bottles with the amount of packaging needed to protect the bottles in shipment. Ms. Lazgin said the Eco-Shape Bottles require no additional packaging.

Then again, tap water uses the least plastic of all, even if municipal water works don’t tend to advertise that fact.


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