Improved recycling rate for carpet tiles

European carpet recycling has taken a step forward, thanks to ReEntry 2.0, a technology first developed in the US four years ago by InterfaceFLOR, who make modular floor coverings.

Both the nylon yarn, which is the most carbon intensive part of the carpet, and the backing of old carpet tiles can be separated and then recycled. Both commercial and residential carpets can be reclaimed; indeed only a small minority of carpets cannot be reclaimed in this way, whilst backing type and face fibre have no adverse impact on the technology.

Reclaimed backing after shredding

Reclaimed backing after shredding

The material value of these two components is not compromised, and so they can be utilised for new products.  This brings Europe nearer to achieving closed-loop manufacturing, which is a key aim of InterfaceFLOR; they were an early convert to sustainable undertakings through Mission Zero in 1996, which was a commitment to eliminate their environmental impacts by 2020. They are now much nearer to reaching those targets, having cut landfill waste by 80%.

Nylon fluff is re-melted into chip form

Nylon fluff is re-melted into chip form

Alongside Mission Zero and their product take-back scheme introduced in 1995 , InterfaceFLOR have now launched a ‘war on waste’ campaign, pushing for a transformation of European waste legislation for the flooring and construction industry; currently manufacturers are not responsible for their products at end of life; this is something that InterfaceFLOR wish to address.

Recycled content fibre and backing

Recycled content fibre and backing

Approximately 30 million sqm carpet tiles are sent to landfill or incinerated in Europe each year; discarding carpet is considered the economical and simple solution, but this technology now offers a viable alternative.
The equivalent of 600,000m2 will be recycled through the ReEntry 2.0 technology, whilst those that have been recycled in this way use four times less energy to process than corresponding virgin materials for new carpets according to life cycle assessments, although this figure changes to twenty times less energy when the factory’s 100% renewable energy is countered in.

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