Can You Recycle Laminate Flooring? (Find Out Now!)

Jessica Vaillancourt
by Jessica Vaillancourt

Did you tear up the old flooring in your home and replace it with something new? This project can be a messy, costly investment that produces a lot of excess waste. It’s always best to reduce the amount of household materials you throw in a landfill. So what if you’ve torn up your laminate flooring, and have no clue what to do with it all? Let’s discuss whether or not you can recycle laminate flooring.

Laminate Flooring CAN be recycled, since 90% of it is made from wood. Unfortunately, the recycling process requires specialized removal of the top chemical layer first. This means you might struggle to find a recycling center or flooring manufacturer that recycles laminate flooring. If you can’t find one, you can reuse the flooring or give it away if it’s still intact.

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What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a type of composite floor covering for your home. It is an excellent replacement for hardwood flooring. This flooring is significantly cheaper and more durable and functional than hardwood. It’s also highly customizable, so you can order it in any style of wood that suits your home.

Laminate floors consist of three main layers:

  • A wood base
  • An image layer
  • A chemical wear layer

The base layer is either a dense plywood or fiberboard. This is followed by an image layer, which gives the flooring its unique visual design. This layer can be customized by wood type and color. The image layer is covered by a transparent wear layer that provides hardness, protection, and gives the planks their durability.

Because laminate flooring is not 100% organic wood, it cannot be regularly recycled with other woods at recycling centers. Its top chemical layer must be removed separately before the wood portion can be processed into wood chips or filler. That’s why not every recycling center accepts laminate flooring, and only companies that specialize in this process will recycle it.

How to Dispose of Laminate Flooring

Recycling is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do with leftover materials. Since laminate flooring is fairly recyclable, you should look for a company that recycles it. If you can’t locate this option, you can attempt to reuse it in other ways as long as the planks are kept intact. And if you no longer have use of this flooring, you can give it away for free.

Find a Local Recycling Center or Flooring Company to Recycle It

It’s not the easiest thing to find a local recycling center that processes laminate flooring. Its recycling process requires the removal of the chemical top layer and image layer. So you will need to check with nearby recycling centers and inquire about whether they can recycle it.

Fortunately, about 85% to 90% of laminate flooring is a recyclable wood material. Because of this, more and more flooring manufacturing companies are collecting and recycling old laminate flooring. They have the means and processes to recycle this flooring. Some of these companies will collect on-site, or may even offer pickup of the materials at your home.

Reuse the Laminate Flooring Yourself

If you have future house projects on the horizon, you can attempt to reuse your laminate flooring. If you extract the flooring correctly and leave it intact, the planks can be used again elsewhere. To ensure the flooring can be reused, make sure to remove each plank carefully. Do not damage the tongue-in-groove, or it will be really hard to utilize for another renovation.

Give Away the Laminate Flooring

Other homeowners may find use for laminate flooring that’s still in good shape. If you have no use for recovered laminate floor planks, you can always give them away. It might be best to just offer them up for free, unless there’s a lot of them and they’re in pristine condition.

List your flooring on places like Facebook Marketplace, or even leave them by the side of the road. Someone out there will find good use of your old laminate flooring.

Throw Out Old Laminate Flooring

Throwing out your old laminate flooring should be a last resort. You can either drop off your flooring at the local dump, or rent a dumpster and fill it with the material if you have an abundance of it.

When you throw away your laminate flooring, it will end up in a landfill. From here, it will sit slowly decomposing, or be burned. When laminate flooring is burned, it emits toxic chemicals into the air. These chemicals are very bad for the environment, which is why you should never burn your laminate flooring.

How is Laminate Flooring Recycled?

During the recycling process, laminate flooring is treated similarly to wood. But because it has a laminate layer that cannot be recycled, it is kept separate from organic woods at the recycling facility. That is why when dropping off laminate flooring at a recycling center, you cannot place it with other woods. Once recycling centers or floor manufacturers acquire laminate flooring, they can turn it into wood chips, filler, or even fuel.

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Related Questions

What is the most durable laminate flooring?

Shaw Industries is the second largest global flooring company, and their laminate flooring options are considered the most durable on the market. They are a great choice to use for highly trafficked floors in your home, like kitchens and living rooms. Pergo is another great company to go with. They are the original inventors of laminate flooring.

Why does laminate flooring buckle?

Laminate flooring usually buckles or warps due to moisture and water damage. To avoid this, try to keep your floors dry and your home dehumidified. To help with buckling, leave spacers around the room perimeter between the flooring and the wall. This allows for the floor to properly expand and contract.

Where can you buy laminate flooring?

You can purchase laminate flooring at most home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. The average cost of laminate flooring per square foot is $2.70 – $10. This doesn’t take into account labor costs for installation. 

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Jessica Vaillancourt
Jessica Vaillancourt

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