The terms sustainable wallcoverings and recycled wallcoverings are not exactly interchangeable. Sustainable wallcoverings may or may not be recycled, but recycled wallcoverings are always considered sustainable. The difference is relatively small, but they both point to the same trend – an increasing demand for a more sustainable product.
The broader of the two descriptions, sustainable wallcoverings reflect a way of defining the entire process, not just the material used to make it. To qualify as a sustainable wallcovering, both the manufacturer and distributor must meet strict regulations. This lets buyers know that the wallcovering was made in a way that is green and that it can be recycled once it has reached the end of its lifecycle.
It also indicates that the covering has been rigorously tested to meet certain criteria specified by NSF/ANSI 342. This shows that no matter what the base material was (whether recycled or not), the buyer can rest assured that the lifecycle is at least comparable to that of other wallpaper.
In the early days, recycled paper developed a reputation for not being very sturdy, so it was not an acceptable substitute. Technology has done wonders for recycling though, and when it comes to wallcoverings, recycled wallcoverings are incredibly durable, as well as holding some really spectacular designs just as well as non recycled wallcoverings. They are designed not only to look amazing, but they should be able to endure as much (if not more) punishment than other wallcoverings of the same type.
How They Are the Same
Ultimately, both are meant to be used for a long period of time and then be recycled for other uses. As more builders and architects turn to more sustainable products for their work, every aspect is considered. The rise of the NSF and the wallcovering requirements known as NSF/ANSI 342 it has become easier to tell when a product has been designed to do more than just look good. It takes into account that something must happen to it after it has completed its job, and ensures that it is easier to repurpose instead of ending up in a landfill.