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Recycling Program Keeps Considerable Amount of Flooring Out of Landfills


CHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO – According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States has 3,091 active—and more than 10,000 inactive—municipal landfills. Thirty-eight percent of landfill waste comes from construction and demolition activities annually. Installed vinyl composition tile (VCT) makes up 75 percent of the total commercial resilient floor market, creating 1 billion pounds of waste material sent to landfills.

Tarkett, an integrated high-performance flooring system provider and an industry leader in sustainability, has positively impacted these statistics through its ReUse / ReStart™ programs.

ReUse / ReStart is a key component of Tarkett’s Balanced Choice philosophy, which encompasses four distinct goals: creating people-friendly spaces; using better raw materials; practicing resource stewardship; and reusing and recycling.  

Launched in 2003, the ReUse / ReStart programs entail the recycling of installed flooring in the commercial market, installation waste and product samples. In 2009, the programs led to the recycling of 154 million pounds of flooring globally. The recycling process was conducted in-house at several plants worldwide and in the United States. In Tarkett’s North American facilities, 19 million pounds of flooring were internally recycled. 2010 reclaimed and recycled volume is projected to hit 35 million pounds.  

The success of these programs is due in large part to the collaboration between Tarkett North America and its major customers to return installed flooring materials, including competitor’s products, to be recycled and then shipped back to the market as “new” tile.

The post-consumer content is incorporated into the production of Tarkett VCT, specifically the Expressions and Azrock lines. All Azrock tiles contain pre- and post-consumer recycled content with standard and premium VCT containing a minimum of 20 percent and depending on color, up to 30 percent, recycled content—and Tarkett is working to further increase these levels.

“The results to date have been extremely positive, demonstrating our program can significantly diminish the environmental impact of these materials well into the future,” says Diane Martel, vice president, environmental planning and strategy for Tarkett North America.

Going forward, Tarkett is developing methods and creating opportunities for incorporating the waste stream into its full range of products, including commercial vinyl and rubber flooring and accessories and expanding beyond the commercial market into residential products as well.  

“Tarkett’s long-standing commitment to recycling and the dedication of our company and customers has helped drive the success of our program,” adds Martel. “Tarkett is known for developing durable, high-performance flooring solutions and as our product development capabilities increase, we will be able to maintain growth in not only recycling flooring, but in incorporating pre- and post-consumer recycled content into our products.

“We understand that each commercial project has unique environmental objectives, and our reclamation and reuse programs contribute to satisfying many of these sustainability needs. This is the essence of our Balanced Choice philosophy,” concludes Martel.

About Balanced Choice/Tarkett
Globally, sustainability is an integral part of the way Tarkett approaches every aspect of its business—from manufacturing to product development to shipping. It’s part of the company’s core philosophy—Balanced Choice. It’s how the company works to build floors that enable customers to balance their impact on the planet, their people and their budgets. For more than 50 years, sustainability has been a key component of Tarkett’s strategy, and through its ongoing focus in four areas—creating people-friendly spaces; using better raw materials; practicing resource stewardship; and recycling and reusing—the company has been able to create floors that are good for the environment, good for people and good for the bottom line. Tarkett provides customers with a wide range of sustainable solutions that will work for any application. The company believes that sustainability is an ongoing effort and works to approach challenges and find solutions through Balance Choice. For more information, visit