February 9, 2015

Wallcoverings Association Tackles Trends, Technology and Sustainability


Zambra Type II vinyl by Versa Wallcovering, an early adopter of NSF/ANSI 342 certification.


Wallcoverings Association (WA)

launched its 2015 Annual Meeting yesterday in Clearwater, Florida, attracting over 100 of the industry’s influencers and leaders. Emerging loud and clear—even over the cacophony of business proceedings of an industry that’s finally benefitting from the economic uptick—were game-changing market trends like digital printing, nature-themed patterns, and the growing adaption of the

NSF/ANSI 342 third-party certification for sustainable wallcoverings


Big business was clearly at the forefront of the association’s mind, and the first speaker of the day, author Robert Langdon, shared his “Seven Steps to Closing a Profitable Sale.” “The higher the emotion is during a sale,” says Langdon, “the further down precision moves on the scale of importance.” He also advised that manufacturers and suppliers always “ask questions with a purpose”—namely of directing attention toward their own products and services.

Laura Keller of Exxon Mobile spoke on the subject of phthalates, the chemical plasticizers that are added to PVCs to make them flexible, a necessary quality for wallcoverings, of course. “Phthalates have been the poster child for toxic chemicals,” says Keller, “but this is fundamentally not true.” Keller focused on one of the most commonly used phthalates, DINP, which she argues has been repeatedly determined safe for current applications. She spoke on the importance of removing DINP from the California Proposition 65 list of hazardous materials—a listing that she argues is scientifically unfounded.

Finally, Dick Doyle of the

Vinyl Institute

presented on his organization’s key strategies for 2015, including “to work with each of the downstream vinyl product groups (flooring, wallcovering, roofing, etc) to try to identify the success points, challenges and opportunities,” says Doyle. He also spoke on the importance of advocacy. “What’s going on from a recycling standpoint about vinyl in this industry? Nearly a billion pounds of vinyl is being recycled.” Doyle’s mission is to refine these processes and put them in white papers so that manufacturers can have the information available to cite. He noted that this year 26 resin plants were awarded for their vinyl safety performance—recognition that will go a long way in changing misconceptions about the material’s sustainability.

The WA 2015 Annual Meeting will run through Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

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