Interface unveils 'carbon-negative' carpet tile prototype

Using innovative plant-derived materials, global flooring manufacturer Interface has unveiled a first-of-its-kind carpet tile with a negative carbon footprint.

Since 1996, Interface has reduced its cradle-to-gate carbon emissions from products from an average of 20kg per square metre to around 7kg

Since 1996, Interface has reduced its cradle-to-gate carbon emissions from products from an average of 20kg per square metre to around 7kg

The Proof Positive prototype tiles have a carbon footprint of minus 2kg, meaning that atmospheric emissions are actually reduced after the manufacturing process. The tiles are also recyclable, and using Interface’s ReEntry recycling system means the carbon remains locked into a closed-loop product.

"We created this Proof Positive tile to inspire our customers, our industry, and the world to think more broadly about taking on the climate challenge in a new way – to find innovative solutions that will not only reduce, but ultimately reverse global warming," Interface’s chief innovation, marketing and design officer Chad Scales said.

"At Interface, we can see a not-so-distant future in which architects, designers, and businesses collaborate to create spaces with climate change in mind, by choosing materials that will reverse global warming.”

The tiles are created using plant-derived carbon that is converted into a durable material that can store carbon. The negative carbon footprint of the tile was achieved directly through design and manufacturing, and Interface has not used carbon offsets in the equation.

Climate Take Back

Proof Positive marks an important step in Interface’s Climate Take Back mission. The successor to the company’s Mission Zero sustainability initiative, Climate Take Back vows to “bring carbon home and reverse climate change”.

Since 1996, Interface has reduced its cradle-to-gate carbon emissions from products from an average of 20kg per square metre to around 7kg. The company’s lowest carbon footprint for mass-produced tiles is the ‘Microsfera' range, a hybrid flooring solution made from recycled nylon, that releases just 3kg of carbon per square-meter during its production.

Interface notes that while only a prototype, Proof Positive could become a “critical solution” to reversing climate change if produced at mass-scale.

"This prototype builds upon the 20 years of work we've put into creating closed-loop design and manufacturing processes," Interface’s chief science and technical officer John Bradford said.

"These systems serve as a vehicle for carrying out our Climate Take Back mission. This is an exciting milestone as we endeavour to commercialise ways to store carbon in the products we make, giving our customers the opportunity to choose materials with the potential to reverse global warming."

Interface is renowned for its approach to research and design. As part of edie’s 60 second sustainability skills series, Interface's co-innovation partner Jon Khoo explained how sustainability professionals can utilise innovation skills to drive positive change within their organisation and beyond.

Matt Mace


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