Relatively new to the flooring world are sustainable cork and bamboo. Cork flooring can be installed in much the same way as laminate and can be manufactured in a variety of colors and appearances, including a natural cork appearance. It can even be made to look like stone or tile. Because cork is giving and flexible, it can be installed on floors that aren't completely level, making it particularly useful in older homes where portions of the floor may have already settled.
When choosing cork flooring, check to see that it's formaldehyde-free and that any varnish is water-based. Bamboo is actually a grass that grows like a weed. The majority of bamboo is grown in China and India, so the environmental impacts from shipping can offset the benefits of using this type of flooring. When manufactured for durable flooring, bamboo maintains the appearance of hardwood, but it can be tinted different colors. Because it is wood, bamboo requires sealants and protective waxes with little or no volatile organic compounds are use.