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Great Ideas for Recycled and Sustainable Wall Coverings

Do you want to help save the planet while you’re redesigning your home? You may be surprised at how many parts of a home’s design can be made from recycled materials if you know where to look. One of the ways to find recycled products is to look into the plethora of recycled wall coverings that have made it to the market. Tile, wallpaper and wood can all come from recycled materials, making these wall coverings great options for anyone who is concerned about the environment. Below, we’ll cover these types of materials and how to source legitimate sustainable wall coverings.

Sustainable Wall Coverings Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood can add some interesting texture and color to a wall. Image: J. Helgason/Shutterstock

Reclaimed wood

One of the simplest ways to reuse materials as sustainable wall coverings is to find reclaimed wood for your walls. Wood is easy to recycle since it’s widely available. It’s also simple to sand and re-stain the wood for new purposes.

Also, reclaimed wood can come in a wide array of colors and textures. And putting those textures and colors together in one space can make an excellent rustic accent wall. For added appeal, you could even try placing the reclaimed boards at alternating depths to create a 3D accent wall. Walls like this work especially well in styles like rustic chic, since reclaimed wood accent walls give a rustic vibe without completely overpowering the space.

Sustainable Wall Coverings Tile Design

Glass is easy to recycle into tiles. Image: SunnyToys/Shutterstock

Recycled glass tile

Everything from old bottles to old windows could go into creating new tile for your home. Since glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials, it makes sense to reuse it in a glass tile mosaic design. The glass can be melted down and re-dyed for some gorgeous designs that look like brand new tile.

Some studios are being very creative with this sustainable wall coverings concept. Tile studio Artaic even created mosaics out of recycled tile that depict other reused and old materials, like scrap paper, torn cardboard, reclaimed wood and peeling paint. The end result looks rustic yet conceptual, making it perfect for artistic spaces.

Sustainable Wall Coverings Recycled Wallpaper

Some manufacturers make wallpaper from recycled materials. Image: yampi/Shutterstock

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is another amazing idea. These sustainable wall coverings can come in a few forms. Wallpaper made from recycled materials is the most common. You may have to source sustainable wallpaper from very specific retailers, however.

A highly innovative use of recycled paper also comes in the form of wall tiles. An art studio called Dear Human makes tiles that consist of 100 percent recycled paper products.

For an artistic take, some people even cover walls with book pages. It’s a highly conceptual design that would be great in artistic home libraries, reading nooks or studies.

Sustainable Wall Coverings Recycling Symbol

Often, recycled products will have the recycle sign printed on the package. Image: Oleksandr Malysh/Shutterstock

How to make sure sustainable wall coverings are legitimate

The problem with looking for sustainable materials is that just about anyone can claim something is eco-friendly. If you want to make sure you’re sourcing the most legitimate sustainable wall coverings, there are a few organizations that can help.

  • Check out industry groups, such as the Wallcoverings Association (WA). These groups can connect you with resources like places to shop and how to find real sustainable wall coverings.
  • Other manufacturers choose to participate in programs like the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which is a document that lists out the environmental impact of a product.
  • For a wider range of recycled building materials, the EPA designates suppliers that use recovered materials. You can search a supplier directory here.

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