By Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR
Plastic pollution on land poses a threat to plants and animals – including humans who are based on the land. It is also responsible for the deaths of millions of marine animals each year, as people throw plastic in the ocean or river. According to the study, a million plastic bottles are bought or sold around the world every minute.
Carpets Inter has come up with the idea to contribute towards the healthy life of each & every living organism. It is also certified by the Green Label Plus which is an independent testing program that identifies carpet with very low emissions of VOCs to help improve indoor air quality.
In talks with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR; Richard Morris, Global Business Director, Carpets Inter said that they have come up with the quirky idea to make carpets by recycling plastic bottles. He said, “We are introducing Carbon negative Yarns for increased Environmental Product Declaration towards Cradle-to-cradle certification.”
Below is the interview:
Please tell us about your India operations and how is it going?
Our Indian operations are run from Bangalore via a network nationwide distribution providing local project management and installation service. We are currently supplying over 0.25 million square meters of Product into India and growing by +15% year on year.
Carpets Inter is a diversified international manufacturer of all Carpet types headquartered in Thailand and is publicly traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand under TCM Corporation Public Company Limited. With over 60-years of expertise, our vertically integrated manufacturing operation is regarded as one of the most environmentally compliant facilities in the world.
We create a carpet that delivers beauty and efficiency for our customers, whilst ensuring our planet is environmentally sustainable. Our commitment ranges from the personal scale of making each occupied space more habitable through indoor air quality, acoustic suppression, aesthetic appeal, durability, and underfoot comfort, to the Global scale of making our world a more habitable place to exist.
Our Modular Carpet Tiles are manufactured using premium Solution Dyed Nylon Pile fiber to ensure a 10-15-year wear lifespan and most importantly appearance retention. However, the measuring factor of a good modular carpet tile is not what you see, it’s what you don’t see. It’s the backing construction that determines the best ROI for the investor.
EcoSoft® PET felt cushion backing is manufactured using discarded, single-use PET plastic soft drink and water bottles, which would have otherwise entered landfills and contributed to polluting our precious waterways. The threat to our marine life is at a critical level due to the massive amounts of plastic entering our oceans every second, with the river Ganges being the largest contributor of over 550 million kg of waste plastics per year. Our affiliation with The Ocean Cleanup is the initial phase of a long-term campaign to recycle plastic that dates back to 2004. We seek to build on our success and raise our commitment to the next level by tying proceeds from our recycled Plastic EcoSoft® carpet Tile directly to marine preservation.
What is the process of recycling plastic into carpets? How much plastic have you recycled to date?
One square meter of our proprietary EcoSoft® back modular carpet tile will typically contain over 55 single-use recycled PET plastic bottles. Our ultimate goal is to recycle over 1 billion bottles on or before 2025. Irrespective of the challenges bought upon the world by the pandemic, we fast-approach this goal having recycled over 787 million PET bottles to date, and embodied over 7000 tons of carbon content, contributing to sustaining a clean environment.
This unique floor covering is not only environmentally conscious, but it also delivers additional benefits such as over twice the sound absorption for indoor acoustics, and lightweight durability that provides both stability and comfort underfoot when compared with traditional hardback carpet tiles.
How are you contributing towards the environment, apart from recycling plastic?
Recycling used plastic bottles is only the tip of the iceberg.
All manufacturing offcuts and used uplifted carpets are taken back and processed into RDF for either Eco-Cement for Well-Certified building construction or Clean Energy. Over 90% of the electricity used in manufacturing EcoSoft tiles is from Clean Energy sources.
Unlike resilient floors, Ecosoft® provides an ideal thermal insulate that will cut a building’s HVAC energy consumption by up to 20% and therefore reduce the energy cost and the environmental damage created by fossil fuel-powered energy plants.
Back in 2009, we achieved zero waste to landfill and are completely self-sustainable in water supply & treatment.
We repurpose and donate 100% of the sediment deposited from our on-site sewerage treatment plant in cooperation with the leading Thai brand of organic agricultural fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is free from harmful pesticides and provides a cost-effective alternative to the Thai Farming community. It contributes to the fertile growth of thousands of acres of organic crop yields such as pineapple, sugarcane, cassava, and systematic tree planting; nature’s inherent process of photosynthesis and the soil’s regenerative natural ability to sequester harmful Greenhouse gasses provides natural filtration of harmful CO₂ from our atmosphere back into the ground.
Under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, there is no such thing as a Carbon offset project. Taking responsibility means you should actively participate in an Emission Reduction or a Climate Change Mitigation project, such as carbon sequestration. At Carpets Inter we practice prevention at source rather than solely relying on purchasing Carbon [Marketing] credits to offset our carbon footprint. From repurposing and reusing waste PET bottles into new products, providing organic waste to agriculture and planting thousands of trees each year in our local community, it’s just good stewardship!!
How are the CSR initiatives you have taken during the pandemic and how has it brought a change in recent times?
When the pandemic went viral, whilst our customers are our future, our associates are our lifeline and we immediately implemented a stringent program to protect their health and wellbeing. All 1100 associates have been fully vaccinated at paid medical facilities. For Associates who fell sick, medical expenses and compassionate support aided full recovery, where we have zero cases and have remained fully operational throughout.
Although a significant drop in market demand resulted in cutbacks, we have upskilled associates to take up other positions within the company and as a result, we will come out stronger with the loyalty supporting maximum productivity to continue to service our growing list of customers.
Our company ‘motto’ has always been ‘Together We Win’ and we truly believe the empowerment is with our team of people working proud knowing that they manufacture products that protect the planet for future generations to enjoy.
Carpets Inter products are designed with a sustainable vision. Please Explain.
The global pandemic has left the manufacturing community severely impacted in the form of operational inflation from a raw material increase, a 400% rise in global shipping charges, and reduced business in the prior 18-months.
The responsibility to conform with being environmentally conscious and sustainable unfortunately comes with a high cost to those responsibly participating, thus buying a carpet that comes with these assurances is often sufficient to the investor to give peace of mind that their facility is positively contributing to reducing Greenhouse Gasses (e.g., CO₂) reduction and providing wellbeing to the occupants to increase productivity and/or user experience.
Whilst larger manufacturers are still moving out of their covid hibernation, we have recently launched 3 new modular flooring collections and another 3 by mid-2021, all of which have environmental reuse, repurpose, recycle and environmental themes to them. We are introducing Carbon negative Yarns for increased Environmental Product Declaration towards Cradle-to-cradle certification.
What is the future of the sustainable commercial carpet market in India?
Younger generations have a disposable mentality, such we see hoteliers, commercial office owners/tenants, facility managers looking to ‘renovate’ interiors far more frequently to stay fresh and fashionable. With the world more conscious than ever before regarding hygiene and wellbeing, more and more ‘users’ are turning to synthetic ‘anti-microbial’ and ‘anti-viral modular carpet systems, which are easier to install and more functionally affordable. Unlike resilient flooring, EcoSoft® entraps airborne particulates until routine vacuuming, allowing the indoor air quality in the occupied space to remain high and avoid allergens affecting occupants.
Corporate MNCs with the support of PMC Companies are already planning for the new normalcy of their associates returning to office space within weeks. Expectations of associates are typically high with a key concern being wellbeing & hygiene within the workplace. To this end business, travelers will expect the same assurances whilst traveling overseas and staying in hotel accommodation.
We believe that post-Covid normalcy will prime associates working within an enclosed occupied space to question employers if their working environments are truly healthy, meaning floorcoverings certified with low VOC, sanitized anti-microbial properties, increased acoustical suppression, and underfoot comfort will set a new expectation and parameter to local manufacturers responsibility to conform.
Always select products from reputable manufacturers endorsed by third-party qualifications, such as WELL, LEED, BREEAM and recognized Green Tag organizations. At Carpets Inter, we are committed to providing eco-friendly hygienic products by working together with the Architectural, PMC & MNC community towards providing healthier occupied ‘Well-Certified’ spaces in a manner that protects the occupant and environment.
What are the company’s plans?
Historically modular carpet has been the preferred floor-covering of choice for the corporate commercial sector for the last 25 years. However, with technology and the increasing sophistication of design capability, more extensive solution-dyed yarn palettes, and unique cushion backing systems, modular carpets now offer the broad decorative appeal and underfoot comfort preferred by leading interior designers for use in hospitality locations, such as Hotels, Serviced Apartments, Theatres, Convention Centres, Airports and other public spaces that lend themselves to using a creative pattern on the floor. With such a diverse choice of color, structure, and pattern, carpet tile provides the creative possibility, transforming the mood of interior environments and defining space. With our creative design pedigree under our Royal Thai hospitality Brand, we are launching Hospitality space modular collections as well.
Yet, to offer an even wider range of products and to meet growing demand, Carpets Inter is offering different size modules. Squares and rectangles in alternative sizes up to 1m x 1m and rolls up to 20mx2m combine to add flexibility and to ensure that modular carpet can work into all interior spaces. Our unique MegaPlank® EcoSoft® back modular carpet supplied as a 2.00m-wide x 20 m long module, will reduce the average installation time by half, achieving minimal disruption and cost to an occupied operational facility.
Our corporate investors continue to support sustained growth with investment into a new product division for Acoustic Wall finish, again manufactured with 100% Recycled PET Plastic Bottles, which together with our EcoSoft® carpet will provide an unsurpassed affordable acoustic solution.
Carpets Inters manufacturing diversity continues to evolve unique floor and wall covering solutions for all commercial sectors engineered to provide facility management with the best return on investment and most importantly supporting good stewardship in sustaining our planet’s environment for future generations to enjoy.
With budget-engineered design solutions and the onus to handle the ‘on-site’ variables often left to the appointed Fit-out Contractor, we make ourselves part of the solution to deliver and complete projects on time. The goal has always been to build long-lasting business relationships with our clients, built on trust and performance. Carpets Inter brings a complete package solution, enabling color coordination and transitional synergy across the overall interior space. Freedom of creative expression to the Interior designer and client is vital, whilst ensuring fit-for-purpose carpet selections are supplied within the overall budget.
Our team can audit the overall space to be carpeted and estimate human traffic flows to factor this into constructional density, pattern, color, and our products module dimension.
We can basically “bake the cake to suit the taste” that is affordable to our customer’s preferred budget and all this with a warranty of sustainable and environmental conformance.