Often times people get so focused on bio based materials; recyclability or carbon footprint that when it comes to flooring materials they forget one of the most important places to start and that is performance. It is true with buildings as well as floors. A 600 year old castle that has never been rebuilt is far more sustainable than a modern day building that might last 50 years even if it has waterless toilets and longer lasting light bulbs. Perhaps when owners start thinking more like kings then we will start building 1000 year buildings in the United States rather than 50 year disposable buildings and sports stadiums that we are building today. Actually, I've seen sports arenas torn down within 15 years of their construction so 50 years is often rather generous but you get the point.
One carpet manufacturer several years ago launched a carpet made from corn (PLA) fiber and it performed so poorly it wouldn't stand up for 2 years before falling apart. Let's face it, carpet that only lasts 2 to 5 years is not economically or environmentally sustainable or responsible. When you consider cost of materials, energy, carbon footprint, labor, labor to remove, labor to reinstall new materials and all the associated hassles to get the new product off and back on to the floor, even if the product were made from lima beans it still wouldn't be very sustainable. Now if the lima bean flooring lasted for 35-50 years that would really be something sustainable to sing about.
In the meantime, Interior Design magazine is correct in finding this long lasting material called VCTT, or Powerbond. Take a look at this link.