Circularity: Paving a Sustainable Path in the Flooring Industry

The flooring industry plays a vital role in shaping our built environments, but it also grapples with a significant environmental footprint. Traditionally, the process involves extracting our dwindling virgin resources, manufacturing flooring, and eventually discarding it into landfills once it wears out. However, circularity offers a promising, more sustainable path for flooring choices.

Circularity in the flooring industry means shifting the focus from disposal to extending a product’s lifespan. This involves designing long-lasting and easily repairable floors, which saves costs on replacements and also reduces the use of virgin resources. This shift towards circularity drives innovation, pushing manufacturers to develop eco-friendly materials and processes that offer superior performance and aesthetics. By minimizing waste during installation and facilitating proper disposal at the end of the product’s life, the circular approach promotes responsible resource use throughout the flooring lifecycle, closing the loop as much as possible.

Patcraft, a leading flooring manufacturer, exemplifies this environmental responsibility through its re[TURN] Reclamation Program. Their program focuses on material reutilization, incorporating recycled content into their products to reduce the need for virgin materials and lower the products’ embodied carbon footprint. Their Cradle to Cradle Certified EcoWorx carpet tile serves as a testament to these values and philosophy. Notably, the program includes a commitment to take back used products at no cost to the customer. Since 2006, Patcraft has recycled nearly a billion pounds of carpet, actively diverting waste from landfills.

Achieving a circular flooring industry requires collaboration across the entire supply chain. Manufacturers need to prioritize eco-friendly materials and design for disassembly, while installers can adopt techniques that minimize waste during installation. As consumers, here are some ways you can embrace circularity when choosing new flooring:

  • Look for Recycled Content: Many flooring companies now offer products with a significant percentage of recycled materials, reducing their dependence on virgin resources and promoting a closed-loop system. Look for labels or certifications that highlight this commitment.
  • Explore Take-Back Programs: Some manufacturers offer programs to take back used flooring for recycling or repurposing. This ensures your old floor doesn’t end up in a landfill and allows for valuable materials to be recovered.
  • Choose durable and repairable options: Opt for flooring built to last and with easy repair options, extending its lifespan. This reduces the need for frequent replacements, minimizing waste.
  • Ask Questions: Engage with flooring retailers and installers about their commitment to sustainability. Knowledge empowers you to make informed choices that align with your values.

By making informed choices and supporting companies that prioritize circularity, you can contribute to a more sustainable future for the flooring industry and further promote a culture of responsible consumption. 

CollegeBuys is committed to helping districts modernize their facilities with sustainable flooring and furniture options. If you’d like to learn more about our flooring contract portfolio, you can visit our flooring contracts page or contact us directly at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

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