Specifying Sustainable Tile: Understanding EDPs, Declare Labels, Cradle-to-Cradle, and HPDs

April 25, 2023

An overview of four of the top sustainability certifications in tile.

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It is exceptionally clear that every material you choose for your project has an impact on the environment. Of course, tile is no exception. Thankfully, there are now sustainability certifications that provide clear standards and make it easier to specify the right tile for your project. However, since there are so many great certifications on the market, it can be difficult to know which certifications to use.

Let’s dive into four of the top sustainability certificates in the industry: Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Delcare Labels and the Red List, Cradle-to-Cradle certifications, and Health Product Declarations (HPDs).

Apartment complex using concrete tile next to a living wall. ARTO has an Environmental Product Declaration.

1. EPDs: Understanding the Environmental Impact of Tiles

Environmental Product Declarations, or EPDs, provide a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of a tile during its entire lifecycle. This includes data on the product's carbon footprint, global warming potential, and water pollution, among other factors. EPDs are verified by third-party organizations, ensuring that the data is accurate and reliable.

Ambiente Products with EPDs: ARTO, Villeroy & Boch, and Tonalite

2. Declare Labels & the Red List: All About Ingredient Transparency
The Declare label is a transparency label that focuses on the ingredients used in a product, providing a comprehensive list of every component in the material for the public to see. It's similar to a nutrition label you see on food. Substances that are harmful to human health or the environment are put on the “Red List” and are shown in red on the Declare label.

Declare labels promote greater transparency and accountability within the industry, encouraging manufacturers to make environmentally responsible decisions throughout their supply chain. Be sure to look for products that are “LBC Red List Free” or “LBC Red List Approved." Products that only have “Declared” status might contain Red List ingredients.

Ambiente LBC Red List Approved Products: DryTile

3. Cradle-to-Cradle: Above and Beyond

Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certification is a rigorous standard that evaluates products based on their environmental impact and circularity. Cradle to Cradle Certified assesses the safety, circularity, and responsibility of materials and products across five categories of sustainability performance: 

  1. Material Health
  2. Product Circularity
  3. Clean Air & Climate Protection
  4. Water & Soil Stewardship
  5. Social Fairness

C2C assessment is thorough and also requires third-party verification. The product receives ratings in each category, ranging from Basic to Platinum. The product is awarded an overall certification level based on the lowest rating received across the five categories.

Our Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Bronze Products: DryTile

4. HPDs: Ensuring Healthy Indoor Environments

Health Product Declarations, or HPDs, provide information about the potential health impacts of a product. This includes data on the product's ingredients, including any hazardous chemicals or substances. HPDs are verified by third-party organizations, ensuring that the data is accurate and reliable.

Ambiente Products with HPDs: Gilasi

Natural environment near Seattle, WA. Clouds and fog roll over the mountains filled with evergreen trees.

Sustainable Tile Choices: Putting It All Together
When choosing sustainable tiles, standards like EPDs, Declare Labels, C2C certifications, and HPDs help determine a tile’s environmental impact, circularity, and potential health effects.

Other ways to determine if a tile is sustainable could be to look for manufacturers who:

  • are transparent about their water and energy usage
  • utilize renewable energy
  • reuse and recycle materials
  • source local raw materials
  • use hard facts and data rather than vague claims
  • are open about their current process and what they are doing to improve (and include a firm timeline)

By choosing sustainable tile options, you can create beautiful and functional spaces while minimizing environmental impact and promoting the health and well-being of building occupants.

For more in-depth information or for a copy of a certification, please contact our tile experts!




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