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First carbon negative carpet tile

New backing material doubles as carbon storage.

10th May 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Atlanta, GA, USA


Having already delivered carbon neutrality across the full range of its carpet tile and resilient flooring products, Interface is now planning the Autumn 2021 launch of a carpet tile that is carbon negative when measured cradle to gate.

For its latest of CQuest carpet backings, the company, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, added new bio-based materials, including a bio-composite that stores carbon in materials that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere.

Even if the new carpet tile is not recycled, its backing will continue to store carbon out of the atmosphere for generations

These bio-based materials are the key to making the backings carbon negative”‹ – by leveraging the carbon-storing attributes of plants.

In nature, plants generally release only about half of the carbon dioxide they absorb, but when they die, all of the carbon they’ve stored up eventually releases back into the atmosphere.

Interface is interrupting this process by mixing plant-based oils and resins with recycled limestone into a bio-composite, to create a new kind of backing material that doubles as carbon storage.

“By switching to bio-based materials away from petroleum-based ones, we are reducing the amount of carbon in the natural carbon cycle and conserving whatever carbon would have been released to make the alternative oil-derived material,” said John Bradford, Chief Science and Technology Officer at Interface.

Measured on a stand-alone basis, the reduced carbon footprint and the carbon storage mean the products are net carbon negative – they reduce more carbon than their manufacturing process emits.

This technology currently appears in three backings – CQuest GB, ”‹CQuest Bio and the CQuest BioX backing, which comprises an even higher concentration of the carbon negative materials and is the non-vinyl backing to be used in the company’s carbon negative carpet tiles.

The carbon negative materials in the CQuestBioX backing, in combination with speciailty yarns and proprietary tufting processes, result in the carbon negative carpet tile.

Interface intends its carpet tiles to see many lifetimes and has made the incorporation of recycled content an integral part of its production processes. Customers are encouraged to return products at the end of their useful life through the company’s ReEntry programme or other local product take back programs.

“Our goal is to bring the product back and recycle it into new products, further locking the carbon into our circular system,” said Bradford. “As we worked to develop carbon negative products, we intentionally designed our production process to incorporate this recycled material.”

Even if the new carpet tile is not recycled, its backing will continue to store carbon out of the atmosphere for generations.

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