DESSO Carpet manufacturer’s pioneering concept creates products that can be recycled to provide raw materials for identical new ones.

The Dutch company has been one of the pioneers of the Cradle to Cradle approach, and was the first carpet manufacturer in EMEA to gain C2C certification. The company continues to innovate around the principles of a circular economy, extending these products to a large portfolio of clients in both carpet and artificial grass divisions.

Cradle to Cradle – pioneered by professor Michael Braungart and US architect William McDonough – is a “closed-loop” philosophy that aims to create products that can either be entirely recycled to provide the raw materials for new, identical ones, or are 100% biodegradable.

Putting this into action requires fundamental design changes, and means to make increasing use of materials that can be recycled again and again. At the same time, it looks to improve quality, eliminate risk to human health, employ renewable energy and achieve economic and ecological benefits.

Desso evaluates its materials against 19 human health and environment criteria, and the company has set a goal to use 100% materials that can be constantly recycled by 2020. This called for culture change, new marketing and sales approaches, a re-engineering of the supply chain and sustainability targets for employees.

In 2010, Desso became the first European carpet tile manufacturer to receive a Cradle to Cradle silver certificate for its new carpet tile backing, Desso EcoBase®, certifying that 97% of all material is made of positive chemical constituents. Due to its innovative composition, the polyolefin based layer of the Desso EcoBase® backing is 100% safely recyclable in Desso’s own production process.

At the same time, Desso launched Take Back, which retrieves old carpets from both customers and competitors for recycling through its proprietary separation techniqueRefinity. Both technologies received funding from the EU.

In the four years since adopting cradle to cradle principles, Desso has not simply improved its environmental footprint, the company has increased its European market share in business carpet tiles.