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PORTFOLIO: SHAW INDUSTRIES

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Shaw Contract Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, made the ground-breaking decision in 2002 to apply Cradle to Cradle® design principles and introduce PVC-free commercial carpet tiles to the market that are designed to be separable into component materials for carpet-to-carpet recycling. Each tile is labeled with a toll-free number that customers can call to have used tiles picked up for recycling. Shaw worked with MBDC to assess the human and environmental health attributes of all ingredients and identify preferred substitutes. 

ABOUT THE PROCESS

We started with a search for carpet fiber and backing materials that are safe, lightweight and recyclable at a high level of quality. The team chose a nylon 6 carpet fiber already developed by Shaw, called Eco Solution Q®, which has the potential to be recycled into virgin quality fiber over and over again. Next, the team developed a polyolefin backing that meets all of Shaw’s performance criteria without interfering with the recycling of the nylon 6 fiber. In fact, it does everything expected of a PVC tile while also allowing the overall carpet tile to be 40% lighter than conventional PVC emulsion coated tiles. Shaw called the new backing EcoWorx®, and made this the standard for their new tile products.

MBDC assessed and optimized the Eco Solution Q®fiber, the EcoWorx® backing, and other additives for human and environmental health. They also found ways to make the product safely and perpetually recyclable.

RESULTS

In 2003, Shaw Industries and MBDC received the inagural Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the White House and the U.S. EPA for its EcoWorx® backing.

As of August 2017, 85% of the company’s products are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ (based upon sales unit volume).

Economic Benefits

Moved to #1 in the U.S. market share for carpet tile

Shaw is now the world’s largest carpet company

10% savings from storing raw materials on customers’ floor for reclamation (perpetual assets)

Encourages customer loyalty

Environmental Benefits

Shaw has reduced 34% waste since 2008, and has set a goal of 100%.

The company has reduced actual vs. modeled Greenhouse Gas emissions by 25% since 2010, with a goal of 40% by 2030.

Social Benefits

In 2016, Shaw:

  • Provided an average of 50 hours of training per associate – for a total of more than one million training hours. These and other associate programs and benefits contributed to Shaw being recognized among Forbes’ America’s Best Large Employers 2016, Elearning magazine’s Learning100! and Training magazine’s Top 125.
  • Contributed more than 43,000 hours of volunteer time and more than $5.3 million to organizations that impact people’s lives in the communities where the company operates.    
View this product at mbdc.com