Shaw Industries Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company and the world's largest carpet manufacturer, has adopted an unprecedented new environmental policy, committing the company's carpet manufacturing processes to follow nature's organic cycle of renewal.

The policy commits Shaw to developing sustainable carpet products that can be continually broken down and reused again -- returning carpet to carpet through closed-loop or "cradle-to- cradle" recycling. Rather than using traditional approaches that recycle used carpet into other products that could eventually end up in a landfill, the company will utilize this progressive approach to maintain continuous responsibility for its product material.

Through its unique e.g. (Environmental Guarantee) program, Shaw will collect, transport, and recycle any carpet tile made with EcoWorx, its popular environmentally sustainable carpet backing. Shaw guarantees it will pick up EcoWorx at the end of its life, at no charge to the customer, and recycle it into more EcoWorx, enabling the company to use the same materials in a perpetual loop. When paired together with Shaw EcoSolution Q carpet yarn, the end product can be sustainable recycled- carpet to carpet and backing to backing.

To test its materials for sustainability, Shaw now uses the Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol, a third-party system created by renowned designer William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart. The Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol assesses each individual material used in a product to determine whether it's safe for the ecosystem. Shaw's Eco Solution Q fiber and EcoWorx backing are among the first products in the world to be fully assessed through the Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol, according to Shaw.