Shaw Industries, other carpetmakers move to more sustainable production

Shaw Industries, other carpetmakers move to more sustainable production

August 29th, 2017 by Staff Report in Business Around the Region

Carpet tile production by Shaw Industries Group employees is underway at the company's new plant in Adairsville, Ga.

Photo by Mike Pare /Times Free Press.

The world's biggest carpetmaker said Monday that 85 percent of its products are now certified for sustainability by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute as carpet and rugs are made with less energy and water and with a bigger share of recycled materials.

In its 2016 sustainability report, Shaw Industries Inc. said it has made major progress toward its sustainability goals, including a 36 percent reduction in water consumption, a 34 percent reduction in waste intensity, a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 16 percent reduction in energy use over the past decade. Since 2005, Shaw also has had a 40 percent reduction in the rate of OSHA safety incidents involving its workers.

"Shaw is continuing to invest and evolve to succeed amidst ever accelerating change in every market in which we compete," Shaw CEO Vance Bell said. "Sustainability will continue to be an important catalyst for the sort of innovation that will drive our enduring success."

The floor covering industry, once one of the biggest contributors to landfill wastes and a huge user of water and energy in North Georgia, has developed ways to recycle old carpet and tile and use far less electricity and water in producing both carpets and ceramic tiles.

Mohawk Industries, the world's biggest floor covering company and the second biggest carpetmaker, released a similar sustainability report earlier this year showing Mohawk has cut its water use by 35 percent and its carbon emissions by 12.8 percent since 2010 while recycling 5.5 billion plastic bottles a year and developing 500 products with recycled materials.

"We are driving consumers and commercial customers to sustainable flooring choices by complementing our 'green' products with exceptional design, performance and value," Mohawk CEO Jeff Lorberbaum said. in a news release "We continue to push the boundaries of sustainability with innovative new products such as Airo, our exclusive new soft floor covering category with unified backing, all manufactured almost entirely from recycled polyester."