Interface unveils latest circular economy innovation

Global flooring manufacturer Interface has developed the first ever biobased backing for carpet tiles, as part of the company's Mission Zero pledge to eliminate all negative effects on the environment by the year 2020.

The new material is expected to be commercialised and rolled out across Europe in the next 18 months.

Interface said its resource-efficient approach is “not about betting on a single recycled or biobased raw material, but instead creating a flexible manufacturing process that allows a wide range of recycled and biobased materials as inputs and outputs of the system”.

The company recently invested €4.5m in R&D for new compounds, as well as a new flexible manufacturing installation at its Scherpenzeel factory.

Green choices

Speaking at a sustainability event at Cambridge University yesterday (6 July), Interface sustainability director Ramon Arratia said that the company’s preference was to use recycled materials over biobased ones, thanks to their lower cost and ready availability.

However, he added that as biobased materials continued to improve, they were making up a greater and greater percentage of Interface products.

Arratia also suggested that Interface had an advantage as a green B2B company, because they are selling to professionals, who make informed choices.

He said: “Architects make decisions based on fact, so if one floor tile has a lower carbon impact  than another, they will choose that. They are also buying with someone else’s money, so perhaps it is less painful to pay for sustainability.

Industry leader

Towards the end of May, edie reported on the culmination of a 10 year project from Interface, which saw it convert the laminate inside car windscreens into a useful material for floor tiles.

In March, Interface developed a carpet tile which has the smallest carbon footprint of any on the market. ‘Microsfera’, a hybrid flooring solution made from recycled nylon, releases just 3kg of carbon per square-meter during its production – much lower than a typical carpet tile which releases 12kg of CO2 per m2.

Other green initiatives include operating its European manufacturing facility in the Netherlands on 100% renewable energy and joining a cross-sector initiative to recover and recycle abandoned fishing nets into textile products

Writing exclusively for edie last month, Interface’s European chief executive Rob Boogaard explained the need for businesses to collaborate and innovate like never before in order to reach a global circular economy. Read the full article here.

Brad Allen

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