5 Years Of Making Vinyl More Green
RECOFLOOR is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month (September) with a host of activities across the country to mark five years of success as the UK’s award-winning national vinyl flooring recycling scheme.
Since its foundation in 2009 by UK flooring manufacturers Altro and Polyflor, this Take Back initiative has engaged with all levels of the flooring supply chain and contributed to increasingly large volumes of vinyl flooring being diverted from landfill.
Recofloor offers a sustainable, cost-effective and efficient collection system that has been embraced across the entire flooring supply chain; from manufacturers and distributors to contractors and fitters.
Their combined and sustained efforts in collecting waste vinyl flooring for recycling is having a significant impact on sustainability within the building industry and transforming attitudes towards this material in the industry.
‘Recofloor’s fifth birthday represents a significant milestone for the scheme and we will be celebrating our achievements with plenty of exciting events designed to involve as many members as possible,’ comments Carla Eslava, Recofloor’s project officer.
‘To date, the scheme has already collected well over 1,700 tonnes of waste vinyl flooring through 68 nationwide drop-off sites and 525 plus collectors. Smooth offcuts and safety offcuts are recycled back into new flooring, with smooth uplifted vinyl recycled into other products, such as road traffic cones. This equates to 528,000sq m, or enough to cover 73 football pitches.
‘It’s a fantastic achievement and one we should all be proud of! Recofloor’s success is testament to its sustainable, cost-effective and efficient collection system that engages with, and has the support of, all levels of the flooring supply chain. Thanks to our members’ sheer hard work, enthusiasm and commitment, Recofloor continues to go from strength to strength,’ says Carla.
The nationwide celebrations include ten birthday events, which will be held at distributors across the country with special Recofloor birthday cakes substituted for the usual bacon butties.
Locations and dates will be available on the Recofloor website – www.recofloor.org
Carla explains: ‘The more the merrier! As well as celebrating with our current members, we hope to meet new contractors to explain to them how the Recofloor scheme works, why it’s successful and how it could help their business.’
Recofloor T-shirts are being given away to any contractor requesting bulk bags this month (September) and will also be handed out at birthday party events at distributors’ premises. All companies requesting a collection during September will be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win an iPad mini.
Recofloor will also be recognising the contractor and distributor who have collected the most vinyl flooring over the past five years. Look out for details on the website and in the press.
Carla continues: ‘From the smallest one-man bands to the largest flooring contractors and distributors, everyone has pulled together to make Recofloor the hugely successful vinyl flooring scheme it is today.
‘Contractors and clients alike recognise the environmental and economic benefits that Recofloor delivers, while the scheme admirably demonstrates how manufacturers can take responsibility for driving sustainability across the flooring supply chain.’
Support and encouragement for its members are core elements of Recofloor’s philosophy and members’ achievements are rewarded every year at the eagerly-anticipated Recofloor awards event. Competition was as intense as ever at the scheme’s third annual 2014 Awards event in March where trophies and certificates were awarded by guest host and BBC Sport’s football pundit Mark Lawrenson.
Based mainly on collected volumes from the previous year, the Recofloor Awards also recognise those collectors who have made significant contributions to the scheme in various ways, such as commitment in promoting the scheme to clients and drop-off site users. This recognition helps winners to differentiate and develop their business, especially among clients with established corporate sustainability programmes.
And it’s not just members who have won recognition for their good work. Recofloor itself has secured several accolades in recent years for its commitment to promoting sustainability within its sector.
These include a Gold Award in the international Green Apple Environment Awards 2013 organised by The Green Organisation. This top Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice recognised Recofloor’s work in changing opinions towards waste flooring within the industry.
Recofloor’s innovative and sustainable approach to the collection and recycling of waste vinyl flooring earned it a Process Premier Award in the Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) 2012 Environmental Leadership Awards, one of the world’s longest- running environmental competitions.
The scheme similarly triumphed in the 2010 Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Awards for Environmental Excellence, winning the highly-contested Innovative Practice in Waste Management and Resource Recovery (SME) category just two months after celebrating the first anniversary of its nationwide launch.
So what has helped to drive Recofloor’s success over the past five years? Drop-off sites at distributors’ premises have seen volumes increase by 35% (128 tonnes) throughout 2013, compared to 2012 (95 tonnes).
‘Thanks to their eager support, distributors are continuing to help drive the scheme,’ says Carla.
‘Local contractors really value this service as they can drop off waste vinyl when collecting new flooring. It’s convenient, reduces site collections and greatly reduces Recofloor’s carbon impact by capturing smaller volumes of flooring that might otherwise be landfilled.’
Waste vinyl flooring from major construction sites, such as schools, hospitals and retail developments, can be recycled through Recofloor and collections from these types of projects are rising as more firms recognise the benefits of recycling.
Recofloor’s environmental benefits are further enhanced by the ability to take back waste vinyl flooring for recycling when new Polyflor or Altro flooring products are delivered to project sites.
Vinyl flooring is source-segregated by each member into smooth vinyl flooring off-cuts, safety flooring off-cuts and uplifted flooring, then placed in labelled bulk bags or bins for collection.
Each is pre-checked to maintain high quality input material and then returned to Altro and Polyflor for recycling. Recofloor’s guidance document explains collection criteria, which all members are expected to adhere to. Strict material separation generates a high quality PVC recyclate from post-consumer vinyl flooring – closing the recycling loop.
Participation in the scheme not only helps building firms to achieve their Zero Waste targets and gain extra waste BREEAM credits for their projects, but it also assists with waste management plans on site and reduces disposal costs by up to 60%.
Recofloor offers a number of environmental and economic benefits through diverting waste vinyl flooring material from landfill. It offers a more efficient use of resources; saving valuable landfill space and recovering materials for reuse in new products.
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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.