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A Short Explanation of NSF 342 Certification

Posted on: June 14, 2016 by admin

NSF 342 (or NSF/ANSI 342) is a set of requirements set by the NSF and any product that has the NSF 342 certification has been through testing to ensure that it meets these certifications. It is a newer type of certification, having been implemented in 2009. Its full name is Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products. As the name says, the focus of the certification is on the process and material used to make the product.

This particularly certification is much more comprehensive than simply showing that a wallcovering is able to withstand certain types of abuse (such as scuffs and scratches) and exposure (such as heat and light). It takes into account the entire lifecycle of the covering, from the initial material through its removal and recyclability.

Both manufacturers and distributors must meet the set requirements before their products can be considered for certification.

Manufacture Requirements

Buyers usually focus on the requirements as they apply to the manufacturers because it seems to indicate how durable the wallcovering is. The NSF set very specific requirements for manufacturers in the following areas which largely do not take into account the actual product’s durability:

  1. Energy use to create the product
  2. Raw material used to create the product, start to finish
  3. Quality of the air in the facility during manufacturing
  4. Ability to recycle the product once it reaches the end of its life

Distributor Requirements

Less commonly considered are the distributors, but in terms of sustainability (the purpose of NSF 342) it is as important as the actual manufacturing process. Distributors must take action to ensure that the way they manage and distribute the product are sustainable in the long term. The following are considered for distributor certification:

  1. Corporate governance to show that a company is working toward being more sustainable going forward
  2. Product distribution that seeks to be more environmentally friendly
  3. Recycling infrastructure support so that buyers can return to their distributor to remove old NSF 342 wallcovering before purchasing their next product.
  4. Waste minimization (can work with recycling infrastructures to acomplish this) showing that the distributor seeks to waste as little of the product after the initial sale


While a certified manufacturer may team up with a distributor, they can actually pair up with any other certified partner to product and distribute certified products. With a definite trend toward sustainability, an increasing number of manufacturers and distributors are working toward a more sustainable product.