Aquafil, a lead manufacturer of Nylon 6, partnered with specialty floor covering company Milliken to design a green carpet for Global Green’s 13th Annual Pre-Oscar Party, which took place on February 24, 2016, in Los Angeles.
In an effort to make the party zero waste, the event also featured an all-organic menu, eco-friendly transportation options and many conversations about climate change solutions and sustainability.
Waste360 spoke with Aquafil CEO Giulio Bonazzi and Philip Ivey, strategic sustainability leader for the Milliken floor covering division, about the green carpet and how it reduces pollution in both landfills and oceans.
Waste360: What materials were used to create the green carpet?
Giulio Bonazzi: The green carpet’s main component is Aquafil’s sustainable ECONYL yarn, which is made of 100 percent regenerated nylon waste materials like discarded fishing nets and carpets. The ECONYL Regeneration System offers 100 percent regenerated products with the purity and performance characteristics that are equal to virgin quality products—all from the reclamation and transformation of nylon waste.
Philip Ivey: In addition to ECONYL yarn, the modular green carpet was made with a PVC-free cushion backing, which features additional pre-consumer recycled content certified by UL. The carpet was manufactured by Milliken using 52 percent renewable energy, another important facet of its green story.
Waste360: How long did the carpet take to make and what are the dimensions?
Philip Ivey: Milliken modular carpet tile generally takes three to five weeks to manufacture. The carpet was a combination of one-meter by one-meter carpet tiles, installed to create the entire length of the carpet. The modular construction allows the carpet to easily be taken up and stored for the next Green Global event. Also, a single tile can be easily spot-cleaned or replaced, if needed, instead of creating an entire new green carpet for next year.
Waste360: How did Aquafil and Milliken work together to create this sustainable carpet?
Giulio Bonazzi: Creating beautiful, sustainable floor covering is a product of collaboration. Aquafil is committed to making the world a better place by pioneering closed loop regeneration processes and delivering 100 percent sustainable products. Because Milliken shares Aquafil’s vision for sustainability, Milliken immediately recognized Aquafil’s proposal to work together as a unique opportunity to promote sustainability.
Waste360: There were many efforts that went into making Global Green’s 13th annual Pre-Oscar Party a zero-waste event. What part did the green carpet have in these efforts?
Giulio Bonazzi: The ECONYL Regeneration System collects nylon waste from both landfills and oceans through the recovery of abandoned fishing nets and other discarded nylon waste materials. The recovered nylon waste is processed at Aquafil’s regeneration plant in Ljubljana, and the resulting ECONYL yarn is shipped to global partners, such as Milliken, where it is converted into end products such as carpets and textiles.
Additionally, zero process waste was sent to landfill when Milliken manufactured the carpet. The Milliken floor covering division has sent zero process waste to landfill for more than 22 years. All Milliken carpet tile, including this green carpet, is designed for longevity to maximize its usable life—a key to keep waste out of landfills.
Outside of this specific event, both Milliken and Aquafil offer landfill diversion programs to prevent used floor covering from entering landfills. By using ECONYL yarn that is infinitely re-generable and focusing efforts on the hierarchy of recycling, we’re ensuring that every inch of carpet Milliken reclaims is diverted with the highest form of recovery possible and with the least environmental impact.
The highest form of recycling is local reuse—finding a new home for carpet that has been well maintained. This prevents unnecessary transportation and processing to break down carpet components for recycling, saving emissions and expense.
Waste360: What sustainable benefits did this carpet provide for this event?
Philip Ivey: Raising awareness around sustainability can be challenging, but LA's awards season is one of the best platforms for celebrities and eco-companies to showcase how innovative practices and materials can be incorporated in most every-day items without compromising aesthetics or quality. Such high-profile events make perfect platforms to help the general public learn more about sustainability and the circular economy, and Global Green’s Pre-Oscar Party offered a unique opportunity to talk about sustainable materials.
Aquafil is committed to finding sustainable solutions in all areas of the value chain. ECONYL yarn uses waste as raw material, thus redirecting waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or worse, our seas. Additionally, the process of making ECONYL yarn reduces CO2 emissions by about 50 percent and primary energy demand by 45 percent compared to regular manufacturing with virgin material.
Giulio Bonazzi: Milliken’s holistic sustainability approach considers a product from beginning to end—from healthy materials and manufacturing to reuse and landfill diversion. The construction is PVC free, which reduces volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) to improve indoor air quality. It was manufactured using 52 percent renewable energy in ISO-certified facilities. Standard PVC-free cushion backing increases the first life of our modular carpets and allows for reuse—the highest form of recycling.
This green carpet also carries various third-party certifications and labels, including NSF 140 Gold/Platinum, CRI Green Label Plus, an Environmental Product Declaration and a Declare Red List Compliant label. As such, it contributes to LEED v4, Living Building Challenge and other green building certifications.