May 8, 2012
by Canadian Architect
It’s just a year ago that Interface, the global leader in design and production of modular carpet tile and a sustainability trailblazer, embarked on expansion of its recycling initiatives by forming a strategic partnership with Toronto-based Aspera Recycling Inc. Now the flooring manufacturer is finalizing a similar strategic partnership with The Carpet Recyclers, a La Mirada, CA-based business that, since its establishment two years ago, has diverted more than 150 million pounds of used carpet from West Coast landfills, saved over 15 million gallons of oil and created more than 100 green jobs. In sealing the relationship, Interface is following through on an aggressive expansion of its own carpet recycling system, ReEntry, to encompass carpet recycling specialists in regional hubs throughout North America.
“In a nutshell,” explained John Wells, Interface Americas president, “Interface’s goal is to close the loop on our raw materials supply chain, and in our case that means we’re working toward eliminating use of petroleum in our products. It also means,” he continued, “the alternative non-virgin materials we use in place of oil must be plentiful and readily available, and so we’ve turned to recycling and processing not only our own end-of-use carpet tiles, but those of other manufacturers, along with the broadloom discards of the entire industry. The technology in place in our own ReEntry facility is able to transform this flooring trash into reusable fiber that goes back into producing our new products. It closes the loop.”
A growing appetite in North America for carpet tile, and the practical flooring solution it offers, has multiplied an exponential need for the recycled fibre that ReEntry yields. The scarcity of post-consumer nylon also is limiting the company’s key yarn suppliers, and these are among the reasons Interface launched a ReEntry expansion initiative last year. This drive is to help identify existing recyclers – like Aspera, and now The Carpet Recyclers – that the manufacturer can fully partner with; or, taking a slightly different tack, find startups or others in waste management who are receptive to Interface’s experienced mentoring and the incorporation of a ReEntry-type system. According to Wells, presently Interface is guiding Aspera on what technology to procure for its operations and the processing of carpet tile on the scale of ReEntry. A fall start date for its operations is anticipated.
“Broadening ReEntry to encompass regional hubs across Canada and the US just makes the most sense. There’s no environmental saving in having to ship weighty carpet discards cross-country for recycling. So, the reduction in shipping costs and fuel needs is another reason we’re pursuing satellite ReEntry operations,” said Wells. “We know each relationship we develop in this quest may be different, but it’s become an imperative if we are to keep up with demand and keep the supply chain well-greased.”
For more information, please visit www.interface.com.