In a move to reduce the environmental footprint of carpet, Mohawk Industries has joined with Polar Materials, Inc., a company specializing in the use of recycled materials to replace mined minerals. Leveraging Polar Materials’ C2C (carpet-to-carpet) manufacturing process, the partnership will result in a carpet backing filler created from recycled carpet waste—advancing post-consumer recycling efforts and reducing the amount of carpet waste sent to the landfill every year.
“Polar Materials’ C2C technology presents tremendous promise for the carpet industry,” said Vann Brown, vice president of innovation and technology, Mohawk Industries. “Not only is it an environmentally responsible solution for increasing post-consumer recycled content in products, but it also minimizes the already heavy burden on our nation’s landfills by reducing carpet waste and improving the economics of carpet recycling.”
Waste sand (or calcium carbonate plus latex) from reclaimed carpet is put through the C2C process, which removes residual carpet fibers and blends the sand with limestone commonly used as filler for latex carpet backings. The annual consumption of limestone in carpet exceeds 800,000 tons per year; replacing just 35% of limestone with the recycled carpet sand from C2C can potentially divert more than 280,000 tons (or 560 million pounds) of carpet from the landfills each year.
The C2C carpet filler satisfies Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard NSF-140 2007, the industry’s national sustainability benchmark for ensuring environmentally and socially responsible carpeting products, for post-consumer recycled content goals. Mohawk is currently using the material in its Mohawk Home division with plans to expand into the flooring segment.
“The carpet recycling network has worked hard to gain a sustainable acceptance for products reclaimed from carpet recycling operations,” said Joseph Keating, Polar Materials, Inc. “The ability to recover and reuse old backing components is a major step forward, along with new waste-to-energy facilities, growth in carpet pad manufacture, and new methods for better processing and more uses for the recovered polymers.”