InterfaceFLOR Launches Biosfera I: The Industry's Most Sustainable Carpet Tiles

InterfaceFLOR, has unveiled its most sustainable products yet. Biosfera I is the first carpet tile collection in the industry to include 100% recycled yarn, made from a combination of pre consumer and post consumer raw material from sources including InterfaceFLOR's own products. The collection has also been manufactured to include less yarn than ever before, significantly reducing its environmental footprint without compromising performance.

Nigel Stansfield
Nigel Stansfield, Senior Vice President, Product & Innovation, InterfaceFlor EMEAI
Since 2000, InterfaceFLOR has used life cycle assessment (LCA) to assess the environmental footprint of its products and address ways in which to reduce and ultimately eliminate these impacts. The processing of virgin, oil-rich yarn is responsible for around 50% of a carpet tile's total environmental footprint. The company has therefore been working hard with its leading global yarn supplier to use increasing amounts of recycled yarn in all of its product ranges and decrease its use of yarn overall. Currently, 40% of InterfaceFLOR's total raw materials used globally are either recycled or biobased, up from just 0.5% in 1996.

Independently verified by third party auditors, the recycled yarn in Biosfera I consists of 30% post consumer recycled raw materials from a variety of sources; these include reclaimed commercial fishing nets that have reached the end of their useful life and end of life yarn and backing material from InterfaceFLOR's own products. The company reclaims the carpet tiles and reprocesses the yarn and backing through ReEntry 2.0, a pioneering carpet tile recycling system that makes InterfaceFLOR the only carpet tile manufacturer to achieve like-for-like recycling today.

The remainder of the yarn used in Biosfera 1 is made from pre consumer recycled raw material from internal and external sources.

Unprecedented Environmental Qualities
The Biosfera I collection includes three products; Bouclé, Velour and Micro. Based on popular tufted designs, these have been re-engineered to include as little yarn as possible, whilst maintaining high performance. InterfaceFLOR has achieved the lowest yarn weight ever for a carpet tile with Micro, which is manufactured using the company's pioneering Microtufting technology; this offers the durability of a hard floor with the acoustics and feel of soft carpet.

Cool Carpet comes as standard, which means the product's carbon emissions are offset during its entire lifecycle, using a verified provider. The tiles also include InterfaceFLOR's TacTiles as standard, an innovative glue-less installation system that helps to maintain good indoor air quality.

Nigel Stansfield, Senior Vice President, Product & Innovation, InterfaceFLOR EMEAI says, "Years ago we were told that it was impossible to recycle nylon yarn, an oil-rich material that is integral to our carpet tiles, but a hurdle in our mission for sustainability. However, we have dispelled this myth by encouraging our suppliers to push the boundaries of innovation and help us to develop materials, processes and products that cause lower environmental impacts. Biosfera I is one of the results of this collaboration and has unprecedented environmental qualities throughout its entire lifecycle - from the sourcing of materials, through to production, installation and disposal. This new collection is not only a breakthrough for InterfaceFLOR, but a first for our industry."

InterfaceFLOR Launches Biosfera I: The Industry's Most Sustainable Carpet Tiles

Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of yarn supplier Aquafil says, "During the 1990's InterfaceFLOR's bold mission for zero impact on the environment and questioning of the green credentials of its suppliers encouraged us to accelerate our own journey: a corporate philosophy of proactive environmental commitment which started several years ago. We have worked closely with InterfaceFLOR to mutually advance research and development and a key goal was to produce a viable alternative to virgin yarn, that maintains performance yet minimises waste, CO2 and water consumption. We are proud to have achieved this with our innovative recycled fibre Econyl, which has allowed us and InterfaceFLOR to edge one step closer to closing the loop in manufacturing."

Biosfera I is available in co-ordinating, neutral colours which complement furniture and fixings and have an 'architectural look' suitable for most commercial environments.

MGS Architecture September-October 2011

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