As a vertically integrated manufacturer, we look at the whole of a product’s life cycle — considering not only what we make, but also how we make it. It is this combination of structure and approach that allows us to enhance the sustainability of our products at virtually every point, from sourcing to manufacturing, distribution, marketing, installation and end-of-life.
Creating a More Sustainable Life Cycle
Increasing the sustainability benefits of our products starts with choosing raw materials that are renewable, sustainably harvested or recycled. We produce flooring from post-consumer recycled material such as PET soda bottles, rubber tires, plastic bottle caps, glass and more. All of our manufactured ceramic products contain recycled materials. We also achieved an industry first with our SmartStrand® carpet, the first carpet made with a renewably sourced polymer.
Our manufacturing process capitalizes on many opportunities to use less water and energy, reduce emissions and divert waste from landfills. In North America, for example, six of our 10 ceramic tile manufacturing plants recover and re-use 100 percent of their process wastewater. In addition, our U.S. laminate and board facilities recycle scrap wood into chipboard products or sell waste material to a third party. We also manufacture our flooring to be durable and long lasting, which keeps it on floors and out of landfills.
When distributing products, our logistics team — which manages one of the largest warehousing and distribution networks in the industry — has become a driver of sustainability. This energy-intensive area offers many opportunities for generating efficiencies. We have implemented energy-saving programs, such as route optimization, the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks in California and the installation of a fuel filling station at our headquarters in Calhoun, Georgia. We continue to seek out and implement best practices in transportation to get our products to market in the most efficient ways possible.
Our product marketing is also growing more sustainable through the increased use of online tools. This makes it easier for our customers and consumers to choose the right products while reducing our use of paper and the production of product samples. QR codes on our in-store samples and displays, for example, drive consumers to our website for product information, enabling us to reduce the use of printed materials. Our suite of interactive tools for commercial customers allows them to deliver a variety of design and environmental options to their own customers virtually, and to make changes instantly if needed.
Installation is an important phase for the majority of our flooring products and one in which we seek to minimize the use of materials. Unilin’s patented Uniclic® technology is a good example. Uniclic offers an easy installation method that uses no glue or other chemicals, thereby helping to improve indoor air quality. We also have reduced the chemicals used in many of our carpet adhesives, including zero-VOC NuSpraylok®, used for commercial carpet tiles.
We engineer many of our products for re-use or end-of-life recycling. In Europe, we are studying the feasibility of repurposing post-consumer wood waste in order to develop a more circular economy for laminate manufacturing. In the Carpet business, our ReCover reclamation program for commercial and residential customers keeps carpet out of landfills. With just a phone call, we will arrange for the removal, pickup and delivery to a processor of any type of carpet, regardless of whether we manufactured it.
Finally, our business depends on meeting the needs of our customers with safe, high-quality products for their homes or businesses. We intentionally design our products to meet or exceed all health, safety and quality standards, as well as local, state and federal laws. This is more than just a good business decision. It also is good for our customers and is the right thing to do.
Mohawk will continue to make products using ever more responsible methods and materials in order to protect the health and safety of our customers, ensure the quality they expect and reduce the impact on our environment.