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How to recycle old laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is made of several layers of materials glued together, including a wood veneer top layer, core boards like fiberboard or high-density fiberboard, and a backing like acrylic, polyurethane, or melamine. While old laminate flooring is durable, it is not biodegradable and ends up in landfills when discarded. However, the individual materials in laminate flooring can actually be recycled in different ways.

Here are some tips for recycling your old laminate flooring:

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•Separate the layers.

Use a pry bar or hammer to carefully pry apart the flooring planks and separate the wood veneer top layer from the core and backing boards. Recycle the wood veneer and backing materials separately.

•Recycle the wood veneer.

The wood veneer can be chipped and recycled into animal bedding, ceiling panels, and new composite wood products. Some flooring companies and wood recyclers accept veneer for recycling.

•Recycle the core and backing boards.

The HDF, MDF or particle board cores can be recycled into new composite boards, furniture, moldings or wood pellets for fuel. Melamine and acrylic laminate backings can also be recycled into new laminate products or plastic pellets.

•Donate or repurpose for DIY projects. If parts of the flooring are still intact and undamaged, donate them to charities or repurpose them yourself for craft projects, shelving, wall paneling, kennels, playhouses or garden sheds. Get creative!

•Recycle as composite wood waste. As a last resort, some wood recycling centers and composite board mills may accept old laminate flooring as composite wood waste, grind it up and mix it with sawdust and wood scraps for manufacturing new composite wood products. But separating and properly recycling the materials is better when possible.

With some effort, laminate flooring can find new life through recycling and reusing rather than ending up in overcrowded landfills. Raise awareness about options for repurposing and recycling laminate flooring. We can all make a difference when it comes to reducing waste in our communities.