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Carpet Is On A Roll And Becoming Greener

Keith Robertson on the relevance of carpet in the 21st century

MUCH has been discussed in recent years regarding the reduction in carpet usage as more people install hard floor surfaces in their homes. It is certainly true that there has been a steady contraction within the carpet manufacturing industry over recent years, but are carpets becoming consigned to the history of floor coverings?

I don’t think so. There are still plenty of interesting carpets being produced throughout the world and carpet manufacturers, in general, have understood how important the environment is to us. They have reacted to the criticisms of carpets and have been working progressively to run their operations in a more sustainable way.

One example of this is Belgium carpet and rug manufacturer, Lano, who have developed their own green signature. In case you are not aware who Lano are, here is a brief rundown. The company has its head office in Harelbeke, a small town about forty miles inland from Ostend. The Harelbeke mill produces around 1,200,000sq m of woven carpet per year.

In nearby Stasegem the company have 38 tufting machines which, along with its weaving looms producing Axminster carpets, allow it to produce up to 20,000,000sq m in a year. The Stasegem facility is a vertically integrated plant as on site it is capable of yarn preparation, twining, heatsetting, tufting, dyeing, printing, latexing, storing and shipping of both the tufted and woven carpets.

At any one time there may be up to 20,000 rolls of tufted carpet stored ready for distribution. In addition, the company operate a spinning mill with a three hundred tonne capacity at Forceville in France.

In line with most forward thinking carpet manufacturers, Lano have worked hard to reduce manufacturing emissions, energy usage, waste and water use, to recycle waste material and to improve the lifecycle of their products through both quality and longevity.

They not only source raw materials that comply with their environmental philosophy, but also have minimised the use of virgin material by maximizing the use of recycled material and working at minimising post-consumer waste by supporting industry-led recycling initiatives.

The manufacturers of fibres have also consistently been researching and developing ways to ensure that high quality product is available to the carpet manufacturers.

Recently Lano announced a new addition to their Perlana range called Grandeur. This is a 40oz/sq yd, 1/8in cut pile available in both 4m and 5m width with a seven year warranty. Perlana is a PET fibre which means it is a polyester.

The pile content of Grandeur is 100% recycled material and is advertised as bleach cleanable to provide the ultimate reassurance against spillage.

As carpet cleaners we should share Lano’s belief that good carpets increase the user’s quality of life and feeling of wellbeing, as they are comfortable to the touch and absorb noise, assisting in providing a quieter environment.

No doubt we also reassure our own customers that carpets have many benefits as they act as a first-rate thermal insulator and contribute to reduction in energy consumption.

As part of our customer education programme we should also be reminding them of the other benefits of carpet, which include the fact that carpets are slip-resistant and assist in limiting the number of falls, particularly important if there are very young or old occupants in the building.

It is also important that our customers understand that carpets improve indoor air quality because dust is trapped and therefore far fewer particles are left airborne.

Furthermore this allows us to remind them that, because the carpet is acting like a filter, it does need to be cleaned regularly and not just in preparation for a forthcoming special event or in response to a past accident.
Now, if they have chosen a carpet such as Lano’s Grandeur we should be assured of producing a fine result with a clean pile unmarred by residual staining.

I am sure that as long as customers crave comfort there will always be a major role for carpet.

Keith Robertson has run a floor care company in Edinburgh for over 30 years and is an expert in his field. He is a member of the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS) and prominent training instructor within the cleaning industry. He is also a long-standing member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA), where he has been appointed the positions of both vice president and marketing director.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.