Flooring manufacturers around the globe are responding in more ways than one to keep up with the move by the industry to reduce its environmental footprint.
A leading European manufacturer of high quality, durable carpets and carpet tiles for commercial applications, Desso can look back on over 80 years experience for producing quality flooring for all types of applications. Desso is also a leading carpet supplier to the airframe manufacturers and to numerous airlines around the world, including Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier, and airlines like China Airlines, KLM, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Vietnam Airlines and TUIfly. In early 2008, Netherlands-based Desso made a natural decision to take an alternative route and go a step beyond mere sustainability in the company’s design and production, by using their ‘Cradle to Cradle’ strategy.
“Our innovative agenda positively improves the quality of life and the environment, by encouraging our clients to maximize rather than minimize the footprint we create,” explains Nathan Jansen, Aviation Sales Director at Desso. “Look at it this way: sustainability policies tend to lay down rules to lessen the impact on the environment. However, by taking our inspiration from nature’s continuous cycles, we are able to design and create materials to be used as ‘nutrients’ for biological or industrial systems.”
In signing a partnership agreement with the Hamburgbased Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA), Desso has become the first carpet manufacturer in EMEA to adopt the ‘Cradle to Cradle®’ design, which involves creating continuous cycles of both biological and technical ‘nutrients’. This means that products are made from positively defined materials that are easy to disassemble, in order to create new products in both the biological and technical cycles. The products have also been produced using manufacturing processes that rely on renewable energy, and seek to conserve water, and to embrace social responsibility.
“Our Cradle to Cradle® strategy goes beyond sustainability and definitely sets us apart from our competition. Whereas our competition tries to minimize the negative impact on our planet, we aim to set a positive footprint. Doing it right, rather than ‘less bad,’” Jansen said.
Desso also developed an innovative separation technique called Refinity,® that involves separating the yarn and other fibers from the backing. The separation produces two main material streams that can be recycled. After an additional purification stage, the yarn is returned to the manufacturer for the production of new yarn (some virgin material is needed to compensate for losses and ineffciency process). To top it off, one of Desso’s yarn suppliers, Aquafil, has developed proprietary technology at its regeneration plant to turn recovered post-consumer Polyamide 6 carpet fibres into new Polyamide 6 again and again.
Furthermore, Desso also supports the Carpet Take Back Programme™ at Schiphol Airport, in cooperation with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
“The carpets in KLM’s airplanes are being replaced every five to six months, resulting in 35,000 square meters of carpet waste on a yearly basis. Rather than discharging this to traditional waste incineration, 80% of the waste (which equals 28,000 square meters of carpet) is taken back from Schiphol Airport and used as secondary fuel for the cement industry,” Jansen said. KLM and Desso are planning to expand the Carpet TakeBack Programme™ to Transavia and other companies within the KLM Group. “At the same time we are also continuously taking steps forward in the development of a Cradle to Cradle carpet for airplanes as well. We are progressing toward a 100% Cradle to Cradle® strategy in 2020,” Jansen added.