Mohawk Industries uses recycled material in flooring products

Mohawk Industries uses recycled material in flooring products

Company recycles 5.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles and 25 million pounds of tires annually.

April 25, 2017
Recycling Today Staff
C&D Plastics Tires

The 2016 sustainability report released online by global floor manufacturer Mohawk Industries in Calhoun, Georgia, paints a picture of the company's efforts and desire to remain sustainable in its production.

"In 2016, our company enjoyed a record year, but our financial results are only one measure of our success," says Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk chairman and CEO. "Today, as the world's largest flooring company, we also assess our performance by the significant and positive impact we make through all aspects of our business. Our sustainability practices reflect the commitment of our company and the passion of our people. We continue to push the boundaries of sustainability with innovative new products and processes because we believe in—and are willing to invest in—a better tomorrow."

In 2016 alone, process improvements, product re-engineering and equipment upgrades positively affected Mohawk's productivity by $140 million. "The depth of these savings reflects hundreds of unique projects across the enterprise, most of which deliver environmental benefits—from state-of-the-art equipment that's less energy intensive to improved freight logistics that reduce carbon emissions to paperless sales and administrative processes that save time and eliminate waste," Lorberbaum says.

The report notes Mohawk's progress in corporate responsibility and sustainability. The company:

  • recycles 7.1 billion pounds of material per year;
  • has reduced its use of water by 277 million gallons since 2015;
  • has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 12.8 percent, its energy intensity by 1.9 percent and its water intensity by 35 percent since 2010; 
  • recycles 5.4 billion plastic bottles annually; and
  • recycles 25 million pounds of tires into doormats. 

Many of Mohawk's achievements in sustainability come from the company's continuous journey to decrease the environmental footprint of its products and operations. The report details an environmentally friendly approach to cooling water at Mohawk's vinyl flooring plant in Belgium; how the Glasgow, Virginia, carpet tile plant is tackling the global pollinator crisis; and a mobile material recycler that can process up to 30 tons of scrap material per hour for ceramic tile plants in Tennessee, Alabama and Texas. 

The report also highlights Mohawk's product portfolio that uses sustainable technology. More than 450 of the company's tile products—ceramic, porcelain and mosaic—contain pre- and postconsumer recycled content. Similarly, Mohawk's products are made with predominantly recycled wood fiber and chips from sustainable sources.

Sustainable solutions in Mohawk's portfolio include:

  • Airo, introduced in late 2016, Mohawk's soft floor covering category with unified backing is manufactured almost entirely from recycled polyester.
  • SmartStrand carpets are made with renewably sourced polymers and are designed to require less energy to manufacture than other fibers.
  • EverStrand carpets use recycled PET soda and water bottles.
  • Moduleo, the company's luxury vinyl tile (VLT) flooring, reclaims up to 20,000 tons of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) materials destined for landfills, transforming it into backing material. 

"People spend about 90 percent of our time inside, so we as a company have a responsibility to ensure our products are contributing to healthy, productive, inspirational spaces," says George Bandy, Mohawk vice president of sustainability. "Constantly working toward a better version of ourselves is a significant part of Mohawk's DNA. This idea fuels our breakthroughs across our five pillars: design, innovation, sustainability, project solutions and operational excellence. From our new Light Lab Design Center in northwest Georgia, which earned the state of Georgia's first Living Building Challenge Petal certification from the International Living Future Institute, to our manufacturing plants around the world, we understand and embrace that better is always possible."

Mohawk's 2016 sustainability report is available exclusively online at www.mohawksustainability.com.