The objective was worded clearly and unambiguously: “together we want to develop the highest-quality, healthiest, most sustainable and first completely recyclable carpet in the world,” said Lars Engelke, Managing Director of Product Development.
The accompanying vision DESIGNED FOR ENDLESS LIFE – FOREVER YOUNG aims to achieve a perpetual product life in endless cycles – perfectly aligned with the concept of a circular economy. But what exactly do circularity and recycling entail? A circular economy describes an interaction of various decisions, processes and the position, seriousness and conviction of individuals and companies. Product design forms the basis for sustainable, healthy and circular products in terms of technical structure and material composition. Likewise, honesty and transparency with regard to materials, ingredients, production processes and relevant product-specific data are imperative for a circular economy. “Kill waste. Design for reuse,” is the concept called by Chris Reutelingsperger, founder of Niaga®. The recyclability and recycling process requires experts and specialists for the materials, logistics and reprocessing as well as the interest and cooperation of the customers and all partners. In the future, the return process for the carpets will be facilitated by the so-called Niaga® tag – this label attached to the product indicates that the product should not be discarded and also provides additional information, such as the material composition and return procedure. “Because the return of the products is central to the circular economy.
“Developing a recyclable, resource-friendly and clean carpet has been and still remains one of the greatest challenges in this company’s history. It is therefore all the more exciting that in Niaga® (“again” backwards), we were able to find a partner that can contribute their technical and material expertise to this development,” said Lars Engelke. The company, which is part of the Covestro Group, has made it its mission to change products and industries in a sustainable way – “we design to use again” or “let’s design our waste, completely,” are statements that Niaga® lives by and implements, making it one of the movers and shakers in the circular economy.
When two such companies come together – OBJECT CARPET ∞ NIAGA® –, something great is bound to emerge. And yes, the current development level shows that a 100% recyclable carpet is not just wishful thinking, but reality.
The result: a mono-material carpet fully made of polyester and completely recyclable, without waste and litter. Thanks to its qualities, this product outshines any previous textile floor coverings. Suitable for the commercial property sector, for offices and hotels, easy to install, easy to clean, and fully recyclable at the end each use cycle. A carpet with lifelong value. Because material is seen as a resource with value – where age and condition become irrelevant. But why choose polyester? Polyester is a family of materials that can easily be recycled without impacting the quality. This makes polyester the most frequently recycled synthetic material in the world, as it retains its original characteristics and can therefore be used throughout many lifecycles with the same high-quality application.
For comparison: a traditional textile floor covering is a mix of many different materials with various functions, such as yarn for the top layer, for example. Then there are also supporting materials, bonding elements, such as latex or fillers for the inverse backing that ensure stability and weight. These materials are bond together in an irreversible way. In addition, many of these fabrics and materials are used in carpeting not because of their functions, but rather due to their availability or low price. Here, the sustainability and recyclability of these materials often play a secondary role, if any.
The cooperation between OBJECT CARPET ∞ NIAGA® also goes hand in hand with the future viability and significance of the Krefeld production site. This state-of-the-art and innovative production facility for manufacturing polyester-based carpets forms the central building block in a comprehensive carpet production – completely in line with MADE IN GERMANY.
The newly completed transparent manufacturing offers customers and partners the opportunity to experience the creation and production process both in real time and in color in Krefeld. At this site, visitors can use all their senses – seeing, smelling, touching – to learn how a production runs without waste, how and what is recycled, how few resources this takes and what the finished product resembles. What is particularly interesting here is the innovative coating facility, which uses a process that requires no gas or water and is 90% more efficient than conventional production methods.
Developing a holistic concept from many approaches, ideas and solutions all the way to implementing a circular economy requires resolve, interest and enthusiasm. For this reason, our motto “Join the future” calls on customers, partners, associations, networks and recycling experts to participate and get involved in the circular carpet project. Because recycling can only happen if everyone has recognised the principle of valuable raw materials and helps integrate products back into the manufacturing process. This is the only way to establish and implement a comprehensive recycling process, from the product, return and recirculation all the way to recycling, raw materials and resources – no time to waste.
The first circular mono-material carpet will be launched in September this year.
Video link to the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldCfLnXrvn8