Roppe has been in business since 1955, and Chief Polymer Chemist Rahul Dhavalikar says the family-owned company continues to show clear commitment to manufacturing the safest, healthiest products. Roppe products are not only Red List–free; they’re 100% recyclable in the U.S. Reaching Red List–free status took Roppe about four years, but the process doesn’t stop there. Dhavalikar shares his insights around how and why the company continues to learn about the safety of chemicals and finished products. Find out how Roppe’s rubber flooring offers an excellent combination of performance, environmental, and health benefits at lowest overall lifecycle costs.
All of Roppe’s Red List-free rubber flooring products are made in the US. In other words, they don’t contain any of those “worst in class” materials that are so prevalent in the industry. We know they’re Red List–free through careful selection, testing, and validation of raw material ingredients.
When we began screening our raw materials, the International Living Future Institute had not yet published its Priority List and Watch List for harmful materials, but today it’s easy for manufacturers and product designers to access this information. Early on, we didn’t want to make substitutions for materials we might regret, so we used GreenScreen to identify high-concern chemicals and safe alternatives.
To ensure our products are not harmful, our rubber tile and sheet flooring products are uncoated, which means they’re manufactured without any factory applied permanent coating. Polyurethane-based surface coatings are generally used on high performance flooring products to improve durability. These surface coatings are either applied in the manufacturing plant as a factory finish or at the job site after installation. In order to deliver superior performance from surface coatings at competitive market prices, the coating recipe has to be formulated with ingredients from the Red List. The key components in these coating recipes are hazardous; extreme caution is required for handling during manufacturing. Skin sensitization and rashes are immediate outcomes when mishandled. For Roppe, that simply won’t do. Our owners put the health of our employees and customers at the center of every decision. Our ownership chose not to apply permanent surface coating on rubber flooring products, opting to reformulate them instead in a way that a wear layer will not be required to deliver product performance. As a result, we have Red List–free rubber flooring products. Not having this coating also means the customer saves money in the long term—they don’t have to maintain the coating or re-apply to maintain original durability.
Read more from Roppe in the November + December 2019 issue of gb&d where they discussed sustainability in rubber flooring.