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A Carpet Manufacturer's Sustainable Story -Waste360

Flooring products manufacturer Interface set a zero waste goal back in the 1990s, when almost no one was doing it. Now, the company is ahead of its 2020 target and is onto a new, more aggressive mission. 

And, in between, the global company that did almost $997 million in net sales last year has made other disruptive moves, including cutting loose from the rest of the carpet industry in its sustainable direction. 

When carpet manufacturers collectively fought a California law requiring that it recycle its wasted products, Interface left its trade association and hired a lobbyist to push to keep the law intact. 

On a smaller-scale project, the company has worked with one of its suppliers and small villages in the Philippines and Africa to see that fishing nets are pulled from the ocean and get a second life as fabric in Interface's carpet tiles. 

"One of our overarching goals for almost 25 years is what we call 'Mission Zero' to have zero negative impact by 2020," says Erin Meezan, chief sustainability officer at Interface. "Since then, we've reduced waste to landfill by 91 percent. We decreased water usage by 88 percent. We have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 96 percent. And we have shifted from fossil-derived energy to renewable sources, including landfill gas to provide process heat for manufacturing"

"In 2016, we looked at our zero emission metric and saw we were getting close to what we set out to do a little early. We thought maybe it was time to challenge ourselves, more," she adds. 

The company's next mission is called "Climate Takeback" and involves implementing business practices to go carbon-negative product made from bio-based materials.

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Article by: Arlene Karidis, Waste 360