InterfaceFLOR is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of environmentally responsible carpet tiles with European manufacturing in Halifax, UK, Craigavon, Northern Ireland, and Holland.
The company has a global market share of around 35% of carpet tiles. In 1994, Ray Anderson, the Founder and Chairman, set a Mission Zero ambition for the company to put more into the environment than they take out, by 2020.
This video demonstrates how this ambition is being converted into mainstream actions and sets out future plans of the company.
Video starts with scenes around the InterfaceFlor factory. Then moves to Steve Martin, UK Operations Director for InterfaceFlor, who is sitting facing the camera.
Steve Martin: The whole story for InterfaceFlor began in 1994 when Ray Anderson, who’s the chairman and founder of the company came up with the Misson Zero challenge to the business, and that’s to make the company become sustainable and ultimately a restorative business.
Steve Martin: You don’t use materials that are toxic. We try to avoid the use of fossil fuels and all materials that we use within the business would either be renewable or, from a technical point of view, recyclable or bio-based.
Steve Martin: One of the things that Interface does is that it constantly innovates and redesigns its products to become more sustainable. How we do that is by looking at how we’re gonna incorporate more post-industrial, more post-consumer materials back into our products. For instance, the nylons that we use in the surface of the carpet, they’re up to 50 per cent post-industrial, recycled nylon incorporated back into them. We’re starting to drive for a higher content now, post-consumer material into them and we have, down in the factory, a machine called cool green.
Scene switches to Eddie Bingham, UK Engineering Director, who is on the factory floor.
Eddie Bingham: The cool green machine is a three stage process where we take trimmings and scrapped carpet tiles and what we call re-entry, which is tiles that we’ve brought back from customers, used tiles back from customers, and put it through this three stage process. One is chopping it up into one centimetre pieces. The second stage is what we call agglomeration, where it actually makes it into a homogenous pellet and then pulverise that into a powder of about 40 microns. This is then put back into our bitumen mix as a percentage of bitumen substitution and limestone substitution.
Scene switches back to Steve Martin.
Steve Martin: We do things like we have a computerised building management system and that’s a self-learning computerised system that’s monitoring ambient temperatures, ambient lighting and it’s adjusting the heat and the lighting to be as efficient as possible all the time. Something as simple as that can reduce your energy bill by a significant amount – tens of thousands of pounds per year – and carbon production by hundreds of tonnes. The first year we ran something like that, we saved 500 tonnes of carbon in one year.
Steve Martin: We have conveyor systems that only activate when the product’s in front of them.
Scene switches to Eddie Bingham on the factory floor.
Eddie Bingham: The conveyor that actually does that is what we call the intelligent conveyor, intellifier, and they’re in sections of about 60 centimetres and they only actually run when the carpet is actually wanting to be conveyed but actually stationery and passive otherwise, which is about a saving of about 60 per cent of the energy consumption of a normal conveyor.
Scene switches to Steve Martin.
Steve Martin: Reduction of waste to landfill globally, since Interface started this programme is 78 per cent since 1996. Energy reduction, since we started in 1996, is down 44 per cent. We achieve all that by involving everybody in the business, you know, it’s not just a few managers or scientists around the business who come up with the ideas. Traditionally in textiles, people were bonused on output. What we did a couple of years ago was to take the traditional bonus schemes of the business and change them to incorporate more sustainable elements in them. So instead of people concentrating on how many square metres they can shove through the machines, each day, they’re also incentivised now on material utilisation, on energy reduction, and things like that. So it’s quite a complex bonus scheme in effect. But it’s driving the business where it needs to go, to becoming a more sustainable business.
Steve Martin: We’ve been able to successfully win two Queen’s awards for sustainable development and we won those consecutively and I think that can be quite an assurance to customers about the products they buy from us are as sustainable as current technology will allow them to be.
InterfaceFlor sustainability highlights: Mission zero, to eliminate all negative environmental impacts by 2020. Already reduced waste by 78%, energy by 44%. Two Queen’s awards for sustainability. www.interfaceflor.co.uk
A film by Shearwater Environmental, www.shearwater.gb.com
In association with Bradford Environmental Action Trust, www.beat.org.uk
Music by Whiter Than, www.whiterthan.co.uk