Carpet Recycling UK celebrated the achievements of its members at its eleventh Annual Conference and Awards Event, while pledging to ‘do more and be more proactive’ in supporting innovation and helping the flooring sector to reuse and recycle more of its carpet waste.
Taking the theme of “Design for recycling and the circular economy”, the one-day conference, sponsored by Invista, manufacturers of “Antron Carpet Fibres”, was held at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium, Birmingham on 18th July. The not-for-profit industry association’s 2019 event celebrated the achievements and significant contributions by members – both individuals and organisations – who continue to drive forward sustainability and circular economy principles in the flooring sector. Delegates heard inspiring presentations on how carpet tile reuse and take back schemes are making a real difference in diverting increasing volumes of carpet waste from landfill. Last year, 175,252 tonnes of carpet waste including carpet tiles were diverted, representing a diversion rate of 44 per cent. CRUK’s target is to increase this tonnage by a minimum of 10,000 tonnes year-on-year.
CRUK currently has more than 110 members and its core funders are Cormar Carpets, Lifestyle Floors/Headlam, Brintons Carpets, DESSO, ege Carpets, Milliken, and Balsan. CRUK Scheme Manager Adnan Zeb-Khan emphasised how their second decade will see a renewed focus on tangible member support; helping organisations throughout the carpet supply chain to divert as much carpet waste from landfill, thereby creating savings on their waste disposal and increasing opportunities for reuse and recycling. “The industry has made great progress voluntarily in the past ten years to become greener by working to minimise production waste, develop sustainable products and recycling outlets,” he said. “In turn, this has created resource and cost savings for companies across the supply chain.”
Transparency in footprint calculation and sustainable product development
Amplifying the event’s theme, Marcel Knobbe, Business Unit Manager Automotive at carpet manufacturer Betap Tufting B.V. highlighted the development of their “next generation” 100 per cent recyclable single polymer carpets that aim to close the recycling loop for carpet. He said: “Our key focus is transparency in our footprint calculation and sustainable product development to create value for a circular economy. Our new Gold products are made from a mono material, making them easier to recycle as they don’t contain different materials. They can be recycled into a purer granulate that almost equals virgin material and has a high value as a raw material resource for recyclers.”
Speakers included Tony Spreckley, Director of Envirocycle London Ltd who explained the importance of targeting waste at source and discussed the impact of rethinking waste strategies, waste segregation and engaging demolition and flooring contractors to save waste from landfill and increase reuse across the nation. In 2.5 years, his company has diverted over 422,300 carpet tiles from landfill to reuse; almost enough to cover every football pitch in the premier league. Tony said: “Our clear ethos is based upon the waste hierarchy: rethink, reuse and reduce. The demolition and strip-out refurbishment sector has become a fruitful source of waste materials and we actively urge and educate our providers to rethink their waste strategies. By tapping into the source of waste via our demolition and flooring connections, we’ve been able to recover some very large uplifts for used carpet tiles. And in turn, attract repeat business from private landlords with large commercial spaces, increasing reuse and reducing waste to landfill as a result.”
Glenn Mitchell, Distribution Manager at Designer Contracts reported on success in taking back carpet waste for recycling from national commercial carpet fitting contracts. Each year, around 250 tonnes of carpet has been diverted from landfill into outlets ranging from the equestrian sector to new underlay. He added: “Not only have we benefited from cost savings as a result, we have shown that as the UK’s largest flooring contractor we are serious about the environment and the impact we have on it.”
Andy Hall, CRUK’s Managing Director presented seven companies with their awards, recognising how their efforts have helped to divert over one million tonnes of carpet waste from landfill to date. The awards mark the achievements of members who have demonstrated innovation, commitment and best practice in the sector. There were double celebrations for two companies: Designer Contracts Ltd won Take Back Partner of the Year with their Distribution Manager Glenn Mitchell clinching Recycling Champion for his commitment in encouraging all regional sites to return carpet waste to the central depot for reuse and recycling, while Edward Clay & Son Ltd took the Best Newcomer and Recycler of the Year awards.
Carpet Tile Recycling was named Reuse Member of the Year for their ‘tireless’ work over the past 13 years collecting, grading and marketing carpet tiles for reuse. The 2019 Outstanding Achievement accolade went to Mike Dobson, General Manager at Headlam for his ‘responsive and supportive engagement’ with CRUK’s aims. Wools of New Zealand’s long-term commitment to sustainability in the carpet industry by supporting CRUK and its activities was recognised with the Longstanding Support award.
Founded in 2008 by leading UK carpet manufacturers and distributors to tackle the 400,000 tonnes of waste carpet arising in the UK annually, Carpet Recycling UK welcomes enquiries from all types of organisations interested in finding new outlets for their waste carpet with potential savings on disposal costs.
Source: Carpet Recycling UK