Alternatives to PVC and Vinyl Wallpaper

A major trend for wallpaper is to cover a whole room or wall with a mural featuring a photograph, landscape, or other design. Creating such a work of art is easy with the right materials, which are often not only affordable but also eco-friendly. However, not all wallpaper is made equally. Those coated in PVC or vinyl, for example, are likely to contain harmful plasticizers that don’t count as VOCs and can even be hazardous if inhaled. According to a 2010 Ecology Center report, 15 percent of 2,300 samples contained brominated flame retardants, which can leach from the wallpaper and cause toxic effects in people. The same study found that some samples contained lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic.

Thankfully, there are some alternatives to PVC that can be used for wall murals. One option is to choose a paper-based, non-woven wallpaper with a biodegradable backing that’s printed with water-based inks. These wallpapers are available in a variety of colors and designs from companies like Hygge and West, Fern Living, and Lisel Jane Ashlock.

Another choice is to use a non-toxic odourless printing method. Printing with HP Latex inks produces odourless prints that are safe to hang and can even be scrubbed clean without the need for chemical flame retardants. These papers can also help earn LEED credits and are mold and mildew resistant.

For a truly green alternative to traditional wallpaper, Spoonflower offers an online service that connects independent designers with buyers for custom-printed fabric wallpaper. The company is formaldehyde and phthalate free and uses wind power to print their wallpapers, which can be backed with a wood-free, biodegradable substrate that’s sourced from FSC-certified forests.

Finally, there’s a line of PVC-free wallpaper from Graham and Brown that is odourless. Their “eco collection” is a textured clay-coated wallpaper that can be hung with paste or glue and has an anti-fungal coating that prevents mould growth and mildew. Their “flocked” and “eco” collections are odourless as well, while the woven grasscloth wallpapers have a slight odor, which they explain is from the natural fibers of the jute backing.

Other options include the odourless HP PVC-free Durable Smooth Wall Paper, which is fire-rated and can be used for wall coverings and murals in commercial settings. This paper is PVC-free and odourless, contains recycled content from post-consumer waste, and can be printed on with water-based HP Latex inks. It is available in rolls and can be cut to size. It is suitable for dry-mounted or wet-mount installation and is designed to meet commercial wall covering standards. It can be purchased through Burke Decor in the US and other retailers worldwide. papier peint sans pvc

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