Operating with 100% renewable energy is a significant achievement, attained by using no water in manufacturing processes and zero waste to landfill.

Considered one of the world’s leading carpet tile producers and environmental pioneers in its field, Interface has reached a series of major sustainability milestones at its European manufacturing facility in Scherpenzeel in The Netherlands.

Interface modular flooring is exclusively distributed in South Africa by Kevin Bates Flooring & Carpeting with operations in Johannesburg, and in Cape Town where it is represented by Albert Carpets.

Interface has been operating with 100% renewable energy since the beginning of 2014 using no water in its manufacturing processes, while still attaining zero waste to landfill. This is of particular significance as carpets have high oil content in their nylon fibres, making them non-biodegradable landfill components.

According to Neil Duncan, Chief Financial Officer for the Kevin Bates Group, Interface’s latest achievement is a major step forward for the Dutch company, which has pledged to eliminate any negative impact on the environment by 2020 and, by doing so, become a restorative enterprise.

“Interface started its Mission Zero journey in 1996 and by 2013 had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and water usage by 87% in Europe,” he says. “The company has recently introduced several innovations that are significantly reducing its impact on the environment even further. One example is the company’s recent switch to green gas at its facility in Scherpenzeel. The gas is now created by anaerobic digestion of fish waste, which is filtered to natural gas and pumped into the grid. The other major innovation implemented has been a water recirculation system through closed-loop piping.”

The company’s acting CEO in Europe, Rob Boogard, said for Interface, Mission Zero was not simply about reducing the company’s own direct impacts on the environment, but also about taking full responsibility for the entire lifecycle of its products. “Our goal is to cut the umbilical coil to oil which has historically been an integral part of carpet production,” he states. “About 44% of Interface’s raw materials in the Europe area are already recycled or bio-based.”

Interface has also incorporated its passion about ecological preservation in its latest carpet tile designs now available in South Africa. “The new Urban Retreat and Net Effect biophilic designs, for example, create visual and physical connections with nature, using foliage, the sky, rivers, the sea, as well as other aspects of nature, as dominant features,” says Lesley Fidrmuc, Interface Consultant at Kevin Bates in Johannesburg. “The reaction from the South African marketplace has been amazingly positive as architects and designers are now increasingly striving towards sustainable, responsible construction and interiors.”

Kevin Bates Flooring & Carpeting supplied and installed one of Interface’s Eco Warrior carpet tile ranges (called Biosfera – and also containing recycled fishing nets), for the Green Building Council of SA’s new offices in Cape Town.

For more information visit www.kevinbates.co.za or call (011) 608 4270