The building industry is well aware of the contribution Australia’s buildings make to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention their other environmental impacts. And in amongst day-to-day design practice, it can be easy to make assumptions about different materials’ sustainability credentials. But material choice doesn’t have to be an either/or question when it comes to aesthetics and sustainability.
Laminex has a well-known pedigree for beautiful high-quality laminates. Less well-known is the that the company has actively been working for many years to reduce its carbon footprint, minimise waste and incorporate ethically sourced materials into its laminates.
For Neil Sookee, Laminex Product Design Manager, the motivation is simple: “We want to be a responsible member of the society that we operate in, and that means making the best efforts to remove environmentally unsound practices from the business.”
“We’ve re-engineered our systems to eliminate anything that could be a potential hazard in the manufacturing process,” explains Sookee. “Both for our own workers, and for people who process our finished goods.”
For example, since the early 2000s Laminex has worked to significantly reduce the levels of solvents in the water-based resins used to produce its high-pressure laminates – to the extent that these resins are now classed as non-flammable.
Water-based resins and water-based cleaning systems are now used across all manufacturing methods at Laminex, in line with the international standard for environmental management systems. This not only reduces hazards around production and installation, but means that at the end of their (long) lives, Laminex products can be disposed of more easily and safely.
The sustainability characteristics of Laminex laminates are formalised in a long list of industry qualifications. The company is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia, and was the first business in its category to achieve Global GreenTag certification, which ensures its products and processes are assessed against internationally trusted benchmarks. All of its Australian-made MDF is rated E0 for minimal formaldehyde emissions and sourced from FSC- and PEFC-certified forests.
As a proud Australian manufacturer, sustainable practices are an important part of Laminex manufacturing capabilities. There is an ongoing commitment to pursue and test new innovations in sustainable and environmental practices.