New circular-economy material stream launched

by Tania Wannenburg

An international Cradle to Cradle® company has developed a new material stream for its carpet tiles to ensure that its products are healthy for both humans and the planet.

In a bold new move on the transformational journey to the circular economy, Desso has developed a new material stream for its carpet tiles of up to 20 000 tonnes of chalk from local water companies.

As a Cradle to Cradle* company, Desso is committed to developing products that can be recycled in a non-toxic closed loop, forming the foundation for a regenerative circular economy. Through a rigid C2C assessment process, Desso strives to ensure its products consist of healthy materials, positive for human health and for the planet.

This is why the company envisions the development of environmentally responsible products that contribute to health and wellbeing in the built environment. This commitment to material health ensures that Desso realises this vision while its goods are in use and when they are being recycled. “This new development is a hugely exciting step forward in our vision to become a Cradle to Cradle company developing products that meet high standards of creativity, functionality and are also positive to human health and the planet,” states Alexander Collot d’Escury, CEO of Desso.

In collaboration with Reststoffenunie, an association of drinking water companies in the Netherlands, Desso has found a way to upcycle re-engineered calcium carbonate (chalk) from local drinking water companies such as Brabant Water and WML (Water Maatschappij Limburg). The chalk is positively defined1 in accordance with C2C criteria and is used for the production of Desso’s carpet tiles with EcoBase* backing, which is C2C Silver certified and 100% recyclable in Desso’s own production process. This new, innovative approach has resulted in Desso products with EcoBase backing now containing on average 50% positively defined recycled content.

It is with great pride that Desso can state that it is the first carpet company in the world to use the upcycled calcium carbonate (chalk)2 , co-created by Desso’s R&D team and its partners in the water industry. It expects to draw as much as 20 000 tonnes of chalk from this circular-economy waste stream for its carpet tiles in partnership with the Dutch water companies. Desso has also launched its new Transitions collection with this positively defined recycled content.

According to recent research, the circular economy in total could generate one trillion dollars a year in cost savings globally3 through the smarter usage of material streams. The next stage is to look for new circular innovations.

R&D at Desso spotted – along with its partners – a way to use material streams from the drinking water industry, which is a completely different sector. The drinking water process leaves a residual of calcium carbonate after it has softened groundwater, a necessary step to make it suitable for drinking. In addition, soft water increases the lifespan of home appliances, which require less cleaning because of the reduced chalk deposits.

The process utilises a material stream that might otherwise have ended up in less valuable outlets; and by sourcing and processing this material stream locally, Desso and its partners can ensure the impact on the environment is positive, and demonstrate perfectly how circular-economy thinking can be put into practice driven by Cradle to Cradle principles.

For more information visit http://www.desso.com

*Cradle to Cradle is a registered trademark of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC (MBDC). EcoBase is a trademark of Desso bv

1 Positively defined = all ingredients have been assessed as either Green (optimal) or Yellow (tolerable) according to the Cradle to Cradle assessment criteria. As described in Cradle to Cradle Certified CM Product Standard Version 3.0
2 Desso’s patent for this process is pending: 1.679.011
3 Towards the circular economy, Volumes one to three (Ellen MacArthur Foundation McKinsey, 2012-2013)

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