In a move aimed at increasing the company's overall recycling capacity, Shaw Industries announced it has signed an agreement with DSM Chemicals North America to purchase complete ownership of Evergreen Nylon Recycling LLC, a nylon recycling plant in Augusta, Ga. Shuttered in 2001, Evergreen was previously owned jointly by Honeywell and DSM. Shaw assumed Honeywell's part ownership of the plant through its recent acquisition of Honeywell's fiber division.

Shaw noted that gaining ownership of the Evergreen plant will allow Shaw to bring it back into operation. The plant uses patented technology to convert nylon carpet into caprolactam, the raw material used to make Type 6 nylon found in residential and commercial carpets. Shaw plans to use the Evergreen plant to recycle post-consumer carpets for reuse, "without the loss of any aesthetic or performance properties," Shaw said.

According to Randy Merritt, Shaw's executive vp of sales and marketing, initial interest in reopening the plant was driven by the demand for more post-consumer recycled material content from specifiers and carpet users in commercial markets, as well as interest in the residential sector.

"Evergreen will provide the additional nylon recycling capacity to offer consumers the opportunity, for the first time, to choose residential carpet styles produced with significant post-consumer recycled nylon content," Merritt said. "The collection system will offer them the possibility to recycle their nylon carpet when they're ready to replace it, not just once, but every time they choose to replace it. The company is taking advantage of existing relationships with key customers and end-users to support the collection efforts."

Vance Bell, Shaw's executive vice president of operations, said that the Evergreen plant, once upgraded, will be able to collect as much as "300 million pounds of carpet waste of all types annually."

"We've been building our Evergreen project teams, and they are already working on technical issues and actively building the collection network to supply the plant," he said. "Evergreen will be part of a system of efficient post-consumer carpet collection, recycling, and value recovery on a large scale."