Desso looks to reach out to FM sector for greater carpet reuse

Carpet manufacturer Desso's takeback programme is forming a central plank of Carpet Recycling UK's (CRUK) aim to boost the recovery of an estimated 58 million carpet tiles uplifted each year in the UK.

In 2011, an estimated 750,000 carpet tiles were reused or recycled, representing a landfill diversion rate of just 1.4%. However, the sector is expanding with 15 CRUK member organisations comprising five reuse organisations and 10 recycling or fuel flock specialists able to tackle this 64,000 tonnes waste stream.

Projects for carpet tile recycling and reuse include a nationwide collection and recycling takeback programme from Desso, which is a CRUK core funder.

Established in 2008, this recycling initiative aims to ensure zero goes to landfill by turning old tiles into new flooring products or using them in other recycling initiatives. Participants receive a certificate as a guarantee that the material was recycled according to cradle-to-cradle principles.

In the refurbishment of Wales & West Utilities Headquarters in Newport, South Wales, Desso supplied 3,600m² of new carpet tiles, but also recovered the old carpet tiles which were cleaned and reused in other local projects.

ALC Contracts, project manager Carillion Property Services and Desso’s team effort completed the contract a week ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile another CRUK member, South Wales-based social enterprise Greenstream Flooring CIC, diverted more than 36,500m² of unwanted carpet tiles in 2012, 70% of which was reused by themselves and their national network of community re-sellers.

According to Greenstream’s managing director Ellen Petts, creating a second life for carpet tiles for low-income families/individuals in the UK provides the facilities management sector with a set of “unique quantified social outputs that any other waste option can’t beat”.

CRUK director Laurance Bird said that raising awareness with the facilities management sector was “crucial” in terms of finding useful second lives for carpet tiles and diverting a readily-recyclable resource from landfill.

“Opportunities are growing for reuse, offering potential savings on disposal costs while contributing to organisations’ green procurement policies and eco-credentials,” he added.

Maxine Perella

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