Not all ‘green’ is equal

Eco-friendly la­bels don’t mean a prod­uct will help the planet

The Covington News - - SHOWCASE OF HOMES -

The con­cept of go­ing “green” — us­ing earth-friendly prod­ucts and ap­pli­ca­tions — is a trend that has cer­tainly ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity as of late.

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent polls, nearly 70 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion feels that the en­vi­ron­ment is in a down­ward spi­ral, a view that has grown steadily since 2001. It is quickly be­com­ing ev­i­dent that hu­mans need to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally minded. And the home is the per­fect place to start be­ing eco-friendly.

Go­ing green at home is one of the first steps a per­son can take to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to point out that not all green prac­tices are equal in terms of their im­pact on the earth. As “green” grows by leaps and bounds, a variety of in­dus­tries and com­pa­nies seem ready to climb on board the en­vi­ron­men­tal train. Con­se­quently, con­sumers need to know how to sep­a­rate the truth from the hype in or­der to make in­formed choices.

What does “green” re­ally mean?

Con­sumers can get a bet­ter idea of how en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly a prod­uct is by pay­ing at­ten­tion to how the prod­uct is made and to what hap­pens to the prod­uct af­ter it is used. Many prod­ucts con­tain re­cy­cled con­tent, but if they are not re­cy­clable, they could end up in the world’s over­flow­ing land­fills. Con­sumers also should know that many re­cy­cled prod­ucts are ac­tu­ally “down­cy­cled,” that is, they are re­cy­cled into a dif­fer­ent type of prod­uct that could even­tu­ally go into a land­fill. While both of th­ese sce­nar­ios are bet­ter than not re­cy­cling at all, they are only “less bad” for the en­vi­ron­ment. How­ever, a com­pletely green so­lu­tion ex­ists: cra­dle- to- cra­dle re­cy­cling.

Cra­dle-to-cra­dle is a phi­los­o­phy that de­scribes the con­tin­u­ous re-use of a prod­uct. The cra­dle- to- cra­dle re­cy­cling process takes a prod­uct af­ter its use­ful life and re­cy­cles it back into the same prod­uct in an un­end­ing cy­cle. With cra­dle-to-cra­dle, prod­ucts can be re­made over and over again as long as con­sumers prop­erly re­cy­cle them. In ad­di­tion, there is po­ten­tial for no waste since prod­ucts can be rein­car­nated in­def­i­nitely with no need for dis­posal in a land­fill.

Many com­pa­nies are adopt­ing cra­dle-to-cra­dle prac­tices. Shaw In­dus­tries, one of the world’s largest floor­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, has been a pi­o­neer in eco-friendly floor­ing prod­ucts for more than 10 years —be­fore go­ing green be­came main­stream. Cra­dle-to-cra­dle is an im­por­tant as­pect of the com­pany’s eco-con­scious pro­gram, the Shaw Green Edge. And Shaw’s Ever­green Ny­lon Re­cy­cling plant is mak­ing cra­dle-to-cra­dle car­pet re­cy­cling a re­al­ity.

The Ever­green Ny­lon Re­cy­cling plant is the only op­er­at­ing fa­cil­ity of its kind in the world. At Ever­green, post­con­sumer car­pet waste is bro­ken down and re­cy­cled into capro­lac­tam pel­lets (the ba­sic form of re­cy­clable ny­lon), which can be used to make new ny­lon car­pet again and again with­out the loss of aes­thetic or per­for­mance qual­i­ties.

Cra­dle- to- cra­dle re­cy­cling is es­pe­cially im­por­tant in the car­pet in­dus­try be­cause car­pet waste is a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to land­fills. Re­search has in­di­cated that 4.6 bil­lion pounds of car­pet are sent to land­fills each year rep­re­sent­ing about two per­cent of to­tal land­fill vol­ume. Shaw’s re­cy­cling ef­forts are de­signed to di­vert nearly 300 mil­lion pounds of car­pet waste from land­fills an­nu­ally.

Shaw is launch­ing a post­con­sumer car­pet col­lec­tion pro­gram to fa­cil­i­tate Ever­green’s pro­duc­tion. Con­sumers can de­ter­mine whether their car­pet is re­cy­clable by look­ing for a “ re­cy­clable” logo on Shaw’s Anso ny­lon and other ny­lon 6 prod­ucts. Shaw’s re­cy­clable car­pet is made from Type 6 ny­lon, the only post- con­sumer car­pet fiber in the res­i­den­tial mar­ket that can be bro­ken down and re­cy­cled back into car­pet re­peat­edly.

Green Prod­ucts: Both Fash­ion- For­ward and For­ward Think­ing

Con­sumers do not have to com­pro­mise qual­ity in or­der to help the en­vi­ron­ment. Prod­ucts made from cradleto- cra­dle prac­tices con­tinue to main­tain their beauty and dura­bil­ity even af­ter be­ing re­made mul­ti­ple times.

Shaw’s In­spired Spa­ces re­cy­clable car­pet col­lec­tion is an ex­am­ple of a cra­dle-tocra­dle prod­uct that is both fash­ion-for­ward and for­ward think­ing. In­spired Spa­ces prod­ucts can be re­cy­cled at Shaw’s Ever­green fa­cil­ity; plus, they fea­ture rich col­ors and trendy, multi-di­men­sional pat­terns like croc­o­dile and hound­stooth, so con­sumers do not have to sac­ri­fice their per­sonal de­sign styles to be en­vi­ron­men­tally minded. Th­ese car­pets help turn any room into an eco-friendly work of art.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Shaw’s green floor­ing prod­ucts, visit www. shawfloors. com/re­cy­cle.

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