DOMOTEX 2020, which took place from 10 to 13 January 2020 in Hanover, Germany, was the site of the official unveiling of the world’s newest sustainable carpet. Exhibited by Dutch company, DSM, the carpet is manufactured using NIAGA technology whose goal is to help reduce and eventually completely discard the world’s “throwaway” culture.
Inspired by nature
The renowned NIAGA technology was originally inspired by nature – by the Turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish in particular. This jellyfish has the ability to regenerate itself repeatedly and is considered by numerous biologists to be virtually immortal. The team of re-designers at DSM were motivated by this regeneration process and decided to use this inspiration to rethink everyday items along the same lines. Through this way of thinking, NIAGA came to be. The basic principle is to produce everyday items, like carpets, using a very simple set of pure and natural materials, all with the ability to be “reborn” consistently and continuously once the original product has reached the end of its useful life.
Sustainability meets performance
Before the creation of NIAGA technology, most carpeting was produced using numerous complex material combinations. These combinations are so dense and intricate that all of the materials used in the manufacturing process are practically glued together for eternity thereafter, thereby making them extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to recycle or repurpose. Hence, the reason why conventional carpets are one of the main contributors to landfill waste around the globe!
The re-design team at DSM were faced with a sizeable challenge as they endeavoured to apply their new school of thought to the manufacture of carpets. Not only did they need to find a way in which to make carpeting more sustainable and eco-friendly, they also needed to do so without negatively affecting the performance and function of the resultant product. Luckily, through years of trial and error, research, and with endless dedication to the cause, the team succeeded in its mission. Through the birth of the concept of NIAGA technology, the team managed to produce a variety of carpeting that allows for effortless carpet-to-carpet recycling.
“The glue that holds the whole concept together – quite literally – comes from DSM in the form of a specially engineered and solvent-free adhesive,” commented representatives of the company. “This reversible adhesive decouples on demand to allow for high value recycling of pure materials. Importantly, it doesn’t require latex which is heavy, takes a lot of water and energy to cross-link, and makes the carpet prone to stains and burning.”
Benefits of the NIAGA carpets highlighted at DOMOTEX 2020 include ease of cleaning because the absence of latex allows for improved airflow through the fibres when using a vacuum cleaner. It is also free of VOCs which means that installation is odour-free and indoor air quality remains completely unaffected.
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.dsm.com for some of the information in this article.
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