.Sustainability has become an increasingly important consideration over the past few decades. Choosing sustainable flooring materials is a great way to create a healthier living space for you and your family and better for the environment. That said, all options on our website, whether labelled sustainable, non-toxic or eco-friendly flooring, meet rigorous Australian eco standards.

This post identifies various sustainable, non-toxic flooring options that minimise environmental impact. These flooring choices will better align with your eco-values.


What are Eco-friendly Flooring Materials

When it comes to eco-friendliness, non-toxic & sustainable flooring, we feel some factors can place a flooring product under the umbrella:

  • Renewable and Natural Materials: Eco-friendly Flooring should be derived from natural, renewable resources. This means it can be regrown and replenished quickly and faster than consumed.
  • Recycled or Reclaimed Materials: Sustainable Flooring often uses repurposed and recycled materials. This means they are diverted from becoming waste and reduce the need to produce new products. Examples include reclaimed timber flooring, repurposing flooring scraps, and even recycled carpet tiles that can be manufactured from plastic bottles or nylon fibres.
  • Low Environment Impact: The flooring product should have a minimal environmental impact during manufacturing and its life cycle. This includes energy production, carbon emissions, water usage, and waste as a byproduct. This reduces the risk of respiratory issues and allergic reactions.
  • Non-toxic and Low VOC Emissions: Non-toxic flooring in Australia should not affect indoor air quality or human touch.
  • Durability and Longevity: An eco-friendly flooring option must be durable and have a considerable lifespan, requiring minimal maintenance and replacement and contributing to waste.
  • Energy Efficiency: As an isolated example, concrete floors can contribute to energy efficiency in homes by retaining radiant heat. This is true particularly when combined with underfloor heating, reducing the energy costs of additional heating.
  • Responsible & Ethical Manufacturing: This means being mindful of the manufacturer/supplier’s processes regarding sustainability, renewable energy, waste reduction and fair labour. Certifications and memberships to ethical and sustainable organizations or lack of often leave clues.

Environmentally friendly flooring is only one way to make your house more sustainable and consider your home’s impact on the environment.

After reading the above, few products available to the public qualify in these areas.

That being said, some flooring products below do or at least come very close to ticking all the boxes:


Sustainable, Environmentally Friendly & Non-Toxic Flooring Materials

We chose some categories below we felt were evident to DIYers and customers. Some other choices will require you to read on to understand what makes them non-toxic or sustainable.

Bamboo – The Sustainable Natural Product

As expected, bamboo flooring makes the cut due to its rapid growth, renewability and sustainability. This product is aesthetically pleasing, durable, versatile and comparable to traditional timber floors. This flooring type is available in various finishes and colours, which will fit many home interiors. Maintenance is minimal, with the bonus of bamboo being it’s resistant to moisture and pests. Additionally, the Moso species of Bamboo used in flooring is not the bamboo that Pandas eat.

Pros Cons
Durable Moisture/humidity damage can still occur
Sustainable Limited colour choices compared to some hardwoods
DIY installation
Low maintenance


Clem Sturgess

Expert Insights From Clem Sturgess

20+ years' experience in hard flooring

Bamboo is usually thought of as a variant of timber flooring. Technically though, is grass, and not timber, and can be harvested without killing the plant which also means faster regeneration.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants with a harvest cycle of just three to five years, making it very renewable.


Trees Regrow Their Cork When Harvested for Flooring

Cork is harvested from the bark of oak trees, causing no damage. This gives a whole new meaning to the use of Oak flooring products. This product has exceptional insulative properties, is comfortable for walking barefoot, and reduces noise underfoot to a minimum. It is also resistant to mould, mildew, and insects, making it very hygiene-friendly. It is available in various styles and colours, including tiles and planks, giving it versatility in applications from room to room.

Pros Cons
Durable Moisture damage can occur
Refinished easily Colour can change rapidly with sun exposure
DIY installation It can be indented by very heavy objects
Low maintenance


Cork floors are a rather durable option as they can last anywhere from 10-30 years.


Reclaimed Hardwoods

Reclaimed hardwood flooring is a great eco-friendly way to add character and charm to your living space. It can be salvaged from various structures, allowing you to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of aged wood. It also reduces the need for new timber and conserves natural resources. If well-cleaned, acclimatised, and maintained, the durability and strength of hardwood flooring ensure longevity for decades to come.

Refinishing old timber floors can mean discovering a hidden gem in your home. Some rare hardwood floorboards are found under paint, carpet, or decades of wear and tear. Sanding and polishing timber floorboards can turn an eye-sore into a showpiece quickly, making it a terrific sustainable option. Homes with pristine solid timber floors can have a higher resale value.

Reclaimed wood is made from reused or recycled wood found in older buildings or leftover from projects.


Pros Cons
Very acclimatised older timber Long preparation & salvage time
Extra look and texture Limited amount
Durable Can be expensive to prepare
Can be hard to find


Showcasing the Beauty of Timber Using Engineered Flooring

Engineered Timber flooring is an excellent option as it uses up to 1/6th of the slow-growing hardwood compared to solid timber flooring. Additionally, Micro-veneer timber floors can create more than 20 times more flooring than a solid timber floor can. Engineered flooring comprises multiple layers, and sub-layer timbers are purpose-grown plantation timbers, which grow faster than the top surface layer. Hardwood trees are very slow growing, so engineered timber flooring drastically reduces the amount of these trees required per square metre of flooring produced.

In addition, engineered flooring products are more stable in expansion and contraction than solid timbers. This is because sub-layers prevent excessive expansion and contraction.

Pros Cons
Reduces the amount of slow-growth trees needed Susceptible to water damage
Look and feels the solid timber More maintenance requirements than vinyl or hybrid
Durable & strong Less capacity for refinishing with the veneer


An increasingly popular choice, engineered hardwood is made from a solid hardwood veneer over a plywood core.


Natural Composition of Ceramic Tiles

Made from natural materials such as clay and sand, ceramic tiles are environmentally friendly and non-toxic. They have a long life span and are resistant to scratches and moisture. They can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them suitable for kitchens, entrances and hallways. At the end of their lifespan, they are also recyclable.  Ceramic tiles require little maintenance, requiring sweeping and occasional mopping.

Pros Cons
Durability – can withstand heavy wear and tear Hard underfoot
Water-resistant Cold underfoot & poor thermal conductivity
Low maintenance It’s complex to install. Improper installation can lead to a host of problems.
There are many designs to choose from Can crack & chip under heavy impact
Stain resistant Costly compared to some other flooring options, such as vinyl or laminate. Installation is also expensive.


Making Solid Timber More Sustainable

Timber can be considered sustainable as it can be regrown. However, some wood is easier and faster to grow than others, and illegal logging of slow-growing desirable timbers is a real problem. It is important to ensure timber is not sourced from clear-felled rain forests in less regulated countries. Importers and processors must abide by rigorous standards to ensure the wood is legally, sustainably and ethically produced.

The following sources are great resources related to sustainably sourced timber: 

Raquel Billett

Expert Insights From Raquel Billett

Interior Décor Expert

Many of our products have a FloorScore® sticker, and they are the most recognised indoor air quality standards (IAQ) certifier. The Floor Score program is a global certification that tests for harmful chemicals associated with flooring products and delivers results. If a flooring supplier passes all the tests, they are certified to display the FloorScore® Private Label correctly through their advertising.

Green tag certified is another label that frequently gets used on our website. Global GreenTag is a well-known and trusted ecolabel aiming to test and certify products using scientific methods. It has become a consumer household name and a cornerstone for businesses, governments and certification bodies worldwide.

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Levi Saunders

Levi is a trades marketing specialist with a passion for flooring. Levi enjoys discovering what the latest news, products and tips are from the industry. He then pieces it together for the Online Flooring Store blog.