Carpet companies are finally getting in the green game. Companies are fighting to find ways that make their products more environmentally friendly by experimenting with alternative, sustainable fibers and using more recycled materials. The manufacturers are scrambling to get products to the market quickly to meet the demand of conscious buyers.
Mohawk Flooring developed a manufacturing process to turn PET containers into carpet. The making of everSTRAND™ starts out by sorting PET bottles and then grinding them into small chips. The cleaned chips are then melted down and extruded into fiber before being spun into carpet yarn. Mohawk also uses the labels and caps from the PET containers to make the carpet core, the roll that carpet is wrapped around on showroom floors. According to their website, since 1999 they have recycled over 17 billion plastic bottles and that’s saved landfills 1 billion pounds of waste.
Shaw flooring has a slightly different spin than their main competition. They have a “cradle to cradle” approach to manufacturing. Conventionally, products are made from natural raw materials, developed into a product and eventually wind up in a landfill. Shaw’s innovative “Cradle to Cradle” approach utilizes carpet recycling centers across the country. These centers collect old carpeting, which is then manufactured back into new carpeting. Right now, Shaw has 32 recycling centers across the U.S. with plans to add more. They expect to collect close to 300 million pounds each year and that’s the equivalent to a 12’ roll of carpet over 10,000 miles long!
Corn Carpet is a newer company. They don’t just have a section of their business dedicated to the environment, but their whole business IS corn carpet. The life cycle is as followed:
1. Farmers harvest the corn and send it to the mill.
2. The corn is ground and cooked into a starch.
3. The starch is converted into sugar.
4. The sugar is converted into plastic.
5. The plastic is extruded into fibers about the same size as a human hair.
6. The fibers are spun into carpet yarn.
Some environmental benefits of corn carpet include:
• Reduced CO2 emissions by the lack of petroleum in the product
• Built-in stain protection
• Biodegradable in landfills
Corn Carpet also comes in many of the same popular styles of conventional product and a wide variety of colors too. Although the other major companies are making strides, Corn Carpet seems to be a real innovator in the field.
With any luck, other carpet mills will take notice of the changes going on in the major manufacturers and follow suit. Better yet, hopefully companies will think even further out of the box like Corn Carpet and develop completely new ways of developing environmentally friendly flooring!