[Sustainable products] With huge amounts of used carpets going to landfill, companies must commit to re-use, says Sandy Patience
The commercial carpeting market is one of the most competitive in the industry. To get an edge, agile manufacturers are reacting to prompts by government agencies and specifiers to produce tiles with a significantly reduced environmental impact.
There are two main concerns: First, toxins such as styrene, formaldehyde and xylene can be emitted to the air during the life of a tile. They are harmful at low levels, but improved detection technology, more stringent performance standards and new materials are helping achieve a healthier environment.
Second, it’s estimated that about 165,000 tonnes of carpets, having been replaced by new tiles, are sent to landfill in the UK annually. Worse still, much of it is not at the end of its working life.
The obvious solution is to re-use when possible. Suitable tiles are collected from site, graded and sold back into the market. While feasible, in practice and without critical mass, choice is restricted and quantities unpredictable. Manufacturers need to engage and commit greater resources.
In contrast, the recycling of carpet materials has been the subject of substantial capital investment. Ideally, at the end of its working life, a tile can be returned to the manufacturer, disassembled and the components returned to the production stream. This closed-loop, ‘cradle to cradle’ concept is the most virtuous form of recycling.
Carpet tile components vary greatly in their materials and sustainability. Specifiers are advised to examine both the construction of the carpet and the claims made by the manufacturer.
CITY GRID, ESSAY OF CLUES COLLECTION
Shaw offers a cradle to cradle service where recyclable nylon pile fibre, attached to a recyclable polyolefin secondary backing, is specified. Both wearing and backing layers include recycled content. BRE ‘A’ rated.
Tile construction Tufted
Product range 200
Pile yarn Eco Solution Q Nylon 6 (25 per cent recycled content)
Pile weights 882g/m2
Backing system EcoWorx - polyolefin (40 per cent recycled content)
Dimensions 609 x 609 x 8mm
Made in USA
Warranty period Lifetime
A786 2025 T, FLUX COLLECTION
DESSO has introduced nine ranges featuring its cradle to cradle initiative. By introducing a certification system, it ensures that both the carpets and production processes are driven towards reducing environmental impact. BRE ‘A’ rated.
Tile construction Tufted structured loop
Product range 18
Pile yarn Antron Nylon 6.6
Pile weights 725g/m2
Backing system Modified bitumen
Dimensions 500 x 500 x 6mm
Made in The Netherlands
Warranty period 10 years
TRANSOM, FRAME OF REFERENCE COLLECTION
Part of a range of 100 per cent wool pile designed for specific commercial applications. The associate backing is largely derived from recycled plastic bottles. Tai Ping is available through Tyndale Flooring and StudioTex.
Manufacturer Tai Ping Carpets
Tile construction Pattern cut/loop
Product range Three
Pile weights 1,356g/m2
Backing system 80 per cent post-consumer polyester, 5 per cent pre-consumer polyester, 15 per cent virgin polyester
Dimensions 600 x 600 x 17mm
Made in Thailand
Warranty period 10 years
CLEANSTREAM CARPET RE-USE SCHEME
This small-scale social enterprise collects pallets of disposed tiles from contractors. It grades and sells them on. Some are sold immediately, some refurbished at the buyer’s cost and others are stored pending use for downcycling.
Company Cleanstream Carpets
Service Reclamation, refurbishment, storage and resale of used carpet tiles
Suppliers Contractors, architects, designers, builders involved in refurbishment projects
End users Contractors, architects, business start-ups, social services, first-time buyers.
Typical cost of disposal £65/palette
Typical sale cost £1-10/m2
Area of operation South Wales/M4 corridor