Carpet Recycling Center
Carpet manufacture has traditionally followed a linear model, where products are made from components derived from virgin raw materials and disposed of at the end of their use. This linear economy model contributes to the depletion of resources. Nylon yarn, for example, relies on finite fossil fuels. It also increases pressure on the climate and the environment. After use, the majority of carpets are sent to landfill, municipal waste incinerators (to produce electricity) or cement kilns, increasing pressure on the climate and environment.
When carpets become waste in a linear economy model, the value of their materials is lost. The manufacturer has no choice but to start the same process again with new virgin materials. With climate change and resource scarcity posing significant business risks, including raw material price volatility and supply chain disruption, it is vital that the carpet industry adopts a more regenerative, circular approach to manufacturing, installing and using carpet. This means designing products with healthy materials, producing sustainably, and collecting post-use carpets to upcycle into raw materials for new carpets.
Circular carpet manufacturing is central to Tarkett’s sustainability vision to create healthier spaces by making sustainable flooring that is good for people and good for the environment. In order to achieve this ambition, Tarkett has developed a takeback program called ReStart® which is already operational for other flooring types and will now be gradually rolled out for post-consumer carpet tiles in EMEA
Through its LIFE ClosedLoopCarpet project, Tarkett has made an important step towards ‘closing the loop’ on its commercial carpet tiles. At Tarkett’s (formerly DESSO) manufacturing plant in Waalwijk, the Netherlands, the company has proven, through the installation of an innovative pilot line, the capability to separate carpet into its key components of yarn and backing which can go to different recycling routes:
- Nylon 6 yarn can be recovered and upcycled into new yarn, in collaboration with Italian yarn specialist Aquafil. Nylon 6.6 yarn will go to another outlet.
- The company’s EcoBase backing material can be safely recycled into new backing for Ecobase carpet tiles at the same location.
- For carpet tiles with a bitumen-based backing, this backing will be recycled in the cement industry.
We need to give serious thought to which materials are used in carpets today, and how we can recover them tomorrow. At Tarkett we want to ensure that the material stream never ends. It’s all about having non-toxic material flows and using sustainable energy to achieve this. This results in a technical cycle.