Desso uses chalk from water companies in its carpet

Netherlands-based carpet manufacturer partners with drinking water companies.

November 12, 2014

Desso, a Netherlands-based global carpets company has developed a new material stream for its carpet tiles based on a partnership with a group of drinking water companies in the Netherlands.

In collaboration with Reststoffenunie, an association of drinking water companies in the Netherlands, Desso has found a way to upcycle re-engineered calcium carbonate (chalk) from local drinking water companies such as Brabant Water and WML. The chalk is positively defined in accordance with C2C (Cradle to Cradle) criteria and is used for the production of Desso’s carpet tiles with EcoBase backing, which is C2C Silver certified and 100 percent recyclable in Desso’s own production process, according to the company.

The C2C Product Standard guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories—material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product receives an achievement level in each category— Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum—with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall mark.

The result of this new innovation is that Desso’s products with EcoBase backing will now contain on average 50 percent recycled content, the company says.

“This new development is a hugely exciting step forward in our vision to become a cradle to cradle company developing products that meet high standards of creativity, functionality and are also positive to human health and the planet,” says Alexander Collot d’Escury, CEO of Desso.

Guiljo van Nuland, CEO of Brabant Water, says, “The concept of recycling our waste as a material stream for Desso’s process fits perfectly with our status as the first climate-neutral drinking water company in Europe.” He adds, “We are proud that our calcium granules contribute so positively to Desso’s Cradle to Cradle carpet tiles.”

Ria Doedel, CEO of WML, says, “More than 99 percent of our waste materials, especially iron and calcium, is now recycled. The innovations in this area are increasing and sometimes surprising. Our cooperation with Desso is a great example of this.”

Desso claims it is the first carpet company in the world to use the upcycled calcium carbonate, cocreated by Desso’s R&D (research and development) team and its partners in the water industry. It expects to draw as much as 20,000 metric tons of chalk from this circular economy waste stream for its carpet tiles in partnership with the Dutch water companies.

The drinking water process leaves a residual of calcium carbonate after it has softened groundwater, a necessary step to make it suitable for drinking, Desso says. In addition, soft water increases the life span of home appliances, as it reduces chalk deposits and therefore requires less cleaning.

Desso says the process uses a material stream that might otherwise have ended up in less valuable outlets; and by sourcing and processing this material stream locally, Desso and its partners could ensure it had a positive impact on the environment, and demonstrate how circular economy thinking can be brought into practice driven by C2C principles, according to the company.