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Product profile: Fotosfera carpet tiles by Interface

New carpet tile uses 63 per cent bio-based yarns

Launched last month at 100% Design, Fotosfera is a carpet tile produced from bio-based yarn. Interface developed the product to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by providing an alternative to petrochemical-based nylon through the use of natural materials.

The primary material used to produce the yarn for Fotosfera tiles is castor oil, sourced primarily from India. Castor oil plants grow on marginal land, where food cannot grow, creating an economic revenue stream for farmers without competing against food crops. The plant grows quickly, within four months, meaning farmers can produce multiple crops in a year. Requiring little water to grow, the plants thrive in dry countries, and can act as a soil stabiliser in areas prone to erosion.

Like Interface’s other products, the tiles come in a structured and a micro finish, both available in eight colours. The structured tile consists of a patterned loop pile. The micro tile uses a microtuft construction, which uses 50 per cent less yarn than the structured loop pile.

Fotosfera tiles are supplied with Interface’s TacTiles fixing system as standard. This is a glue-free system designed to further reduce the carpet’s impact. Negating the need for liquid adhesives, TacTiles create no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also speed up the installation process, and allow for greater flexibility and maintenance.

The product’s manufacture is based on a closed loop model, with the materials recycled at the end of their life. There is no limit to how many times the bio-based nylon can be recycled, meaning the product can be reused over and over again. Interface offer a take back scheme, recycling used carpet tiles. Their recycling process separates the main components of the tiles, making them available for reuse as raw materials.

Interface’s environmental policy, called Mission Zero, has set a target for all products to be recycled or bio-based by 2020. At present, 44 per cent of all their raw materials meet this target. The development of bio-based yarns to produce nylon is an important step forward.

Nigel Stansfield, Chief Innovations Officer for Interface, said: ‘Fotosfera is a breakthrough product innovation for Interface. With 63 per cent bio-based yarn content, Fotosfera accelerates our Mission Zero aim to eradicate our use of virgin petro-chemical raw materials in our products by 2020.’

Interface are looking to get BREEAM, LEED and SKA ratings for the tiles. An external environmental product declaration will also be carried out in the upcoming months.

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