Interface EMEA Pioneers Biobased Materials for Carpet Tiles13/07/2015
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Global modular flooring manufacturer, Interface, has developed the first ever biobased backing for carpet tiles that has now passed all European performance and quality tests, including low VOCs and high dimensional stability.
The announcement follows successful trials of the biobased compound developed by Interface and Wageningen UR Food and Biobased Research in the Netherlands and a recent investment of €4.5m in a flexible new installation at its Scherpenzeel factory.
As part of the investment Interface has also created a dedicated research and development team focussed on compound development. Interface expects to commercialise the biobased backing within the next 18 months and roll it out across its EMEA product range.
The company’s strategy for playing a leading role in the circular economy is not about settling on a single recycled or biobased raw material, but about creating a flexible manufacturing process that allows a wide range of recycled and biobased materials as inputs and outputs of the system.
As a result of this approach, Interface is continuing its partnership with Universal Fibres to progressively switch its use of virgin nylons for those with increased biobased content. Since 2011, when Interface developed the first carpet tile with biobased nylon, the company has made significant investments in expanding its manufacturing capabilities for using biobased materials.
Biobased formaldehyde-free glass fleece
Interface piloted a biobased formaldehyde-free glass fleece two years ago and has already sold two million sqm in EMEA. It is now progressively switching its entire European portfolio to this new glass fleece.
The biobased breakthroughs are a crucial step towards Interface’s mission to cut the umbilical cord to oil by 2020.
Today, Interface’s 2015 EcoMetrics show that 50% of the raw materials used to make its products globally are either recycled or biobased. Its goal is to achieve 100% by 2020, and these latest biobased innovations will take Interface even closer to this milestone achievement.
Interface measures its progress towards Mission Zero using a range of defined EcoMetrics. To date Interface has achieved globally:
- Carbon footprint of carpet tiles has been reduced by 22% on average since 2008
- Energy use per unit of production has been reduced by 40% since 1996
- Renewable energy is now 45% of its total energy use at manufacturing sites
- GHG emissions per unit of production have been reduced by 73% since 1996
- Waste to landfill per unit of production has been reduced by 91% since 1996
- Water intake per unit of production has been reduced by 87% since 1996
Commenting on the advances in research and technology used to create biobased materials, Interface’s Chief Innovations Officer, Nigel Stansfield, said: “We identified biobased materials that do not compete with the food chain as the means to complement recycled materials and provide significant growth opportunities for our business.
“For the last 10 years we have designed and built manufacturing equipment flexible enough to handle a wide range of recycled and biobased materials. This technology collaboration with partners has enabled Interface to create a market leading range of biobased and recycled products that showcase the innovation and pioneering spirit all business leaders should apply to create a truly sustainable future for their organisations.”
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