Tarkett has joined in a pioneering partnership with Aquafil as the result of an intensive collaboration over recent years. The two companies present a significant step towards circular economy at Tarkett’s carpet tile facility in Waalwijk, the Netherlands with its unique recycling center that creates two streams of materials that can be recycled and transformed into high-quality resources for new products. 

Tarkett has developed breakthrough technology that is able to separate the two principal components of carpet tiles—yarn and backing—while retaining more than 95% yarn purity. This level of purity is vital in ensuring that the polyamide 6 (PA6) yarn can be recycled by Aquafil and later transformed into regenerated ECONYL nylon yarn.

Tarkett also increased its capacity in Waalwijk to produce its EcoBase carpet tile backing to meet customers’ growing demand for this sustainable product. Overall, 100% of an EcoBase-backed carpet tile with PA6 yarn is recyclable. The PA6 yarn and backing are recycled without loss of quality; used yarn becomes new yarn and used backing new backing. Recycling EcoBase-backed carpet tiles with ECONYL yarn delivers up to 84% CO2 savings compared to incineration.

“Technological innovation now makes it possible to multiply the life cycles of building materials. Together with Aquafil, we are accelerating our circular economy journey and leading our industry’s progress in carpet recycling,” said Fabrice Barthélemy, Tarkett’s CEO. “This is a fundamental step forward in maximizing the value of materials and preventing carpet tiles from being incinerated or sent to landfill. Truly closing the loop on flooring is a key driver of Tarkett’s strategy to preserve natural resources and protect the environment.”

Shifting to a circular economy required the collaboration of all Tarkett’s stakeholders, manufacturers, suppliers, other industrials, customers and governments. In the construction sector, public or private projects account for a large part of activities. In Europe, Public procurement represents around 15% of all GDP. It means that public sector has the power to create a sustainable demand for circular solutions. Therefore public authorities have the responsibility to define guidelines and rules for public tenders. In order to ensure a level playing field and avoid fragmentation of EU single market, Tarkett recommended the European Commission addresses the needed standardization for “circular public procurement” and in general tools, metrics, frameworks and standards ensuring the shift of our society from linear to circular economy.

“We strongly believe that as a responsible flooring company we have a role to play to change the game of our industry with circular economy–a widely recognized solution to tackling the climate emergency,” said Tarkett representatives. “This is a key challenge for the building industry. At Tarkett, we already understood that there is an urgency to shift models to preserve the world’s finite natural resources. So it was logical that one of our strategic goals is to lead the transition to a fully circular economy in the flooring industry.” 

Tarkett has set a target of using 30% recycled materials in its purchased raw materials by 2030, triple its current amount. To achieve this transition, the company is focusing on two main drivers: eco-designing products with recycled materials; and making products recyclable at the end of use with the implication of purchasing, manufacturing, and implementing circular solutions to take-back, collect, sort and recycle/reuse said products into the company’s manufacturing. The will also involve their R&D, marketing, sales, supply-chain and purchasing teams in close collaboration with customers, suppliers and other partners.

In this vein, Tarkett plans to deploy its new Ecobase carpet backing technology in its Chinese factory in Suzhou, China, with the plan to recycle it in the future and with the goal to supply APA division (Asia Pacific). In addition to all before mentioned initiatives, Tarkett is also investigating options to extend its recycling technology deployed in Waalwjijk in other new regions across the globe.

For more information, visit tarkett.com.