London Fire Brigade has long recognised the need for responsible stewardship of its estates, which includes over 100 fire stations, largely based in densely populated urban areas. The organisation endeavours to manage its land holdings in a sympathetic and sustainable manner and has a strong commitment to responsible waste management. When LFB were refurbishing their headquarters site in Southwark, South East London, they were keen to find a way of recycling the 8000m2 of Milliken carpet that they had previously installed there. On the recommendation of Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), LFB were advised to recycle the Milliken product through Greenstream Flooring CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to the re-use and recycling of carpet tiles.
Carpet Recycling Project
Having already collaborated with Greenstream on numerous carpet re-use and recycling projects, Milliken partnered once again with the national recycling organisation to find a way of re-purposing LFB’s 8000m2 of carpet. Greenstream’s collection service guarantees and certifies maximum re-use and where possible community benefit from any carpet material it collects.
The carpet that had been installed at LFB’s headquarters was Milliken’s premium fusion bonded cut pile modular carpet ‘Milliken Colours’ in a grey colour with a Staccato design. This carpet when originally installed carried a 10-year wear guarantee and it was clear that the majority of the product was still in good enough condition for re-use. When the carpet was delivered to their warehouse, the Greenstream team sorted, cleaned and graded the carpet and found that 7040m2 was available for re-use. The remaining 960m2 was sent to one of their carpet recycling partners for reprocessing into equestrian surfaces.
As part of one of their ‘Community Donation Days’, Greenstream were able to identify local low-income social housing tenants that could make use of a the carpet for their homes. On the designated day, tenants were able to visit the warehouse and collect, free-of-charge, the carpet they required.
In addition, through Greenstream’s Affordable Flooring Program, local Housing Associations were also sold a large quantity of the carpet for use in their local re-housing projects. Any remaining carpet was then sold through the organisation’s online reclaimed carpet shop.
As a Community Interest Company, any income from carpet sales are used to provide further employment for the local community in Greenstream’s carpet sorting warehouse.
This collaborative project has resulted in a number of positive outcomes.
Recovery of the carpet from the LFB building has meant that 33.6 tonnes of carpet was diverted from landfill.
With 7,040m2 or 88% of the product being re-used and the remaining 960m2 having been recycled for an alternative use, the project was estimated to have made savings of 68 tonnes CO2.
From a social perspective, the communities that were given the free carpet were able to make considerable economic savings where their alternative was to purchase a new carpet. It is estimated that the cost savings made from replacing this volume of carpet for their homes would be in excess of £25,000.
The income from the project has also supported two employee placements in upcycling at Greenstream’s warehouse for the sorting, re-cleaning and re-grading of reclaimed carpet.
Milliken’s sustainability leadership
Sustainability has always been at the core of Milliken’s philosophy to ‘do good’ for the world. As a leader in sustainability for more than a century, Milliken’s first recycling policy was established in 1900. Today, our goal to minimise our environmental footprint continues with responsible manufacturing practices, industry certifications, full disclosure around product components and complete transparency in environmental reporting.
New Re-Vision: Closed Loop Recycling
Following a recent significant R&D investment, Milliken has now developed a proprietary closed loop recycling system. Re-Vision enables used carpet tiles, along with production waste and installation waste, to be converted into new carpet tile backing and production energy. Any cushion, felt or bitumen backed carpet tiles (from Milliken or any other manufacturer) can now be reprocessed and given either a second life as new floorcovering or converted into clear process energy for use in Milliken’s carpet tile manufacturing process.
London Fire Brigade New Carpet Installation
The new carpet that has now been installed at LFB’s Union Street Headquarters is Milliken’s enduring Laylines design with its co-ordinating partner Laylines Transitions. This product is an enduring tufted, level loop pile modular carpet with Comfort Lite, 90% recycled content cushion backing for additional underfoot comfort, improved acoustics and superior appearance retention leading to extended