When you’re looking for sustainable flooring, carpet is usually at the bottom of the list. Mostly made of petroleum based material, with a limited lifespan, there isn’t generally much to recommend carpet to the eco-minded designer. But what if you took that non-renewable product, and found a way to re-use it indefinitely? What if you did this not only with your own product, but also with the products of other manufacturers? Could you take something ecologically ugly and make it beautiful and sustainable? That’s what Tandus set out to do 15 years ago, and the results have been extraordinary.
According to Tandus, the company hasn’t sent manufacturing waste to a landfill since 1994. Add all the carpet they take back through their Infinity Initiative to that, and as of now they have diverted over 155,000,000 pounds of carpet from landfills. So where does all that carpet go?
Tandus collects used and reclaimed carpet from any manufacturer and then takes it to a sorting facility. Then they take the raw carpet and chop it up into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually pelletizing it. From there it is heated, extruded and processed into their 100% recycled content ER3 backing material. Add a lovely carpet face material to the top and Tandus has something to brag about!
The use of recycled materials as backing material doesn’t stop there. At Greenbuild 2009 they were showing their Ethos modular carpet backing, which is made from the film used on shatterproof glass. Composed of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), the film had no commercially viable use after the end of it’s useful life, until Tandus found its calling during research into carpet backing alternatives.
To find out more about the sustainability initiatives at Tandus, click here.