How we make carpets for a sustainable future

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Believing that every carpet is an opportunity to protect the environment and maintain personal wellbeing, we constantly challenge industry standards when combining aesthetics, quality and sustainability into beautiful carpet design. There are plenty of good stories to tell about your next carpet; about the materials we use, the processes our production is based on and the other very diverse activities and initiatives that compose our entire business. 

For instance, all of our carpets are Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM while also holding the Indoor Air Comfort Gold certificate. Besides that, our EcoVadis Gold Score puts us in the top 1% when it comes to social responsibility. And there’s so much more!

Do you want a good story to tell the world? Tell them about your carpets

We see more and more examples of customers highlighting in articles, reports and their communication in general that they have specified sustainable interior. Simply because it’s a good story that supports the worldwide agenda about the increasing need for sustainable solutions.

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Why are our stories important to you? Besides specifying one of the greenest carpets in the world for your next project, you get so many reasons why you should choose a product from Ege Carpets in the first place. Read on to follow the green thread that runs through everything we do and learn how we make beautiful carpets for a sustainable future.

We exist to design beautiful carpets for a sustainable future

While it is our business to create beautiful carpets, we consider it our ethical duty to help inspire progress in our society. By constantly challenging the conventions of production, we impatiently demand more of today to ensure that we create a better tomorrow – one carpet at a time.

As a carpet manufacturer, it is impossible not to have a production footprint, but for years, we have strived to reduce the negative and increase the positive factors. And this approach continues into the future with our ambitious 2030 sustainability strategy, focusing on four key areas where we aim to make an even more positive difference:

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Some of our achievements and future goals within each area are explained in further details below.

1. From waste to resource

  • Yarn from used fishing nets: Many of our carpets are made using ECONYL® yarn, created from abandoned fishing nets that account for 10% of all the waste in the oceans. The yarn is regenerable so it can be converted into new nylon products after use.
  • Carpet backing from used plastic bottles: One million plastic bottles are used every minute worldwide. We use some of them for our patented Ecotrust tile backing where 18 1/2-litre bottles are used for one m2 backing resulting in up to 40 million bottles being kept in circulation instead of ending up as waste.
  • Recycled carpet base: When carpets are produced, the yarn is tufted into a carpet base. In 2018/19, we used 3.3 million m2 carpet base made from 90% recycled materials from industrial waste.
  • Recycled yarn residues: One yarn cone weighs between three and five kg. As the length of yarn varies from cone to cone there is always leftover yarn on each cone after tufting. Our new production line empties the cones for leftover yarn and returns it to the supplier so that more than 40 tonnes of yarn residue is recycled annually.
  • Recycled cardboard cones: The cardboard cones with yarn are made from recycled cardboard. After use in our tufting facilities, 49 tonnes of cardboard cones are recycled annually.
  • Disposable pallets become new pallets: As a production company, we receive many raw materials on disposable pallets. Therefore we have started to work with a company that buys and sells the pallets that can still be used. This means that 18% of our disposable pallets are reused while the rest are chipped or used as biofuel.
  • 100% recycled plastic in carpet tubes: Our carpets are rolled onto tubes that are made from 100% recycled plastic.

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2. Sustainable carpets

  • Cradle to Cradle on all our carpets: Cradle to Cradle is the vision of a world in which humankind does not adversely affect the environment. It makes us do our utmost to keep valuable materials in circulation, cut down on waste and harmful substances, take care of our scarce resources, sustain precious groundwater, reduce CO2 emissions and ensure social fairness in our operations and value chain. The idea behind Cradle to Cradle is that the Earth’s finite resources should not go to waste. They must be used simply in new contexts, with no detrimental effects on people or the environment. All our carpets are certified and we are working towards certification at platinum level in 2030.
  • Best-in-class for low emissions: All our carpets are Indoor Air Comfort Gold certified showing compliance of product emissions with the criteria of many of the voluntary specifications issued by the most relevant ecolabels and similar specifications in the EU. Gold certified products are best-in-class for low emissions and therefore good for indoor air quality.
  • We clean and reuse water: Most of our carpets are born with non-coloured yarn. The beautiful designs appear when the tufted carpets run through our enormous dye facility that injects colour into the yarn. When changing colours the facility must be cleansed of any colour residue, which requires a lot of water. We have developed our own way to clean and reuse the water so that up to 70% of the water is reusable.
  • We recirculate the dye: We can create carpets in the most amazing colours, which are injected into the yarn from 40,000 spray nozzles. Behind the nozzles, there is a complex web of tubes where the colours are constantly recirculated to prevent the nozzles from clogging and ensuring that 88% of the colour dye is reused.
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3. Net carbon positive

  • Renewable energy: Each year, we invest an ever-increasing ratio in energy from offshore wind turbines. Since 2018, the electricity consumption of all our Danish production sites has been provided by 100% renewable energy. This significantly reduces our environmental footprint and supports the global agenda for a sustainable future.
  • Surplus heat for local houses: We have conducted a major heat recovery project whereby the surplus heat from some of our production facilities is channelled into the district heating system for houses in the local area or used as space heating in our own buildings.
  • Biogas takes us the rest of the way: Sustainable carpets must of course be produced using sustainable biofuel. We have therefore started to phase-in bio-natural gas as a replacement for fossil fuels in our production facilities. The first step has been taken with 25% biogas in 2020 with a target of 100% in 2025.
  • Climate partnership with the Danish government: In 2019, Ege Group CEO John Vestergaard, was appointed deputy chairperson of the Danish government’s climate partnership for manufacturers, one of 13 partnerships to secure a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions by Danish companies. The appointment follows the increased focus on our many years of ambitious sustainability work.
  • On our way to CO2 neutral transportation: Today, as we are responsible for the transportation of our carpets to our customers, we specify that our distributors must use the best-classified trucks and vans. In 2030, our ambition is for all our transportation to be completely CO2 neutral, no matter if it is by road, train, sea or air.
  • We drive the talk: We are replacing our company cars and vans with environmentally friendly alternatives, starting with hybrid cars. By 2025, all our company cars must be 100% CO2 neutral.
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4. Closing the loop

  • Reuse is the future: A carpet has more than 200 different components. Apart from yarn and felt, where we already use recycled materials, there are many other ingredients, including dye, glue and limestone. We are working hard to replace these with recycled materials. Our 2030 target is clear: 75% of our carpets must be made from recycled materials.
  • Sell your used carpet for recycling: At the moment, there are no official collection systems for carpet waste in place but we work closely with a number of partners to make this to happen. When we succeed in making carpets with components that are easy to separate and reuse, used carpets will become valuable assets for manufacturers. So you will not only be able to return your used carpet, you will be able to sell it for recycling.
  • Total reuse of carpets in the future: Our carpets last for many years but not forever. At one point, they become waste. We are developing processes to enable recycling of carpets after use. One of the biggest tasks is to separate carpet material so the different components can be reused. A way to solve this is to create a carpet made from a single material and we are making great progress.

Proud to be leading the way

Our sustainable efforts have led to many fine acknowledgements and we are proud to be leading the way and help to inspire others to move in a more sustainable direction. We have taken first place twice in a CSR rating created by Danish top management publication: Økonomisk Ugebrev Ledelse. Likewise, KPMG, Scandic Hotels and Danish Design Award have awarded our green achievements. We have also won the EU’s Management Award for Sustainable Development. Winning the Circularity City Product Award by EIT Climate KIC, resulted in us garnering international speaking time at C40 Worlds Mayors Summit 2019.

To us, sustainability is not an option. It’s weaved into everything that we do

 

And most recently, our sustainability excellence has been recognised at the Eco-Vadis Sustainability Leadership Awards 2020 with the highest score in its class. EcoVadis is the world's leading sustainability rating agency and they rank the CSR performance of 65,000 companies in 160 countries each year. The ranking puts us in the top 1% recognising Ege Carpets as one of the most advanced companies in terms of CSR practices.

Our stories are yours too!

As one of the most environmental certified carpet manufacturers in the world, we have decades of experience in sustainability and I hope you enjoyed following our green thread throughout this article about making beautiful carpets for a sustainable future. If you want to learn more about how sustainability is weaved into everything that we do, please click this link to go to our website. These are our stories and you can easily make them your own - we look forward to getting in touch!

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Written by Mette Frydensbjerg Jacobsen: Mette is ege carpets' fashion savvy communications expert. Her keen eye for the sweet spot between beautiful carpets and great stories makes her our favourite pick for inspiring you with Project of the Month.

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