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Carpet making is a highly polluting industry that relies heavily on petroleum due to its use of nylon and polyester. Interface, a global carpet tile manufacturer world-renowned for its fashionable design, committed itself in 1994 to what it calls its “Mission Zero”— a goal to have no negative impact on the environment by 2020. Today, Interface is not only known for its design, but also for its exhaustive sustainability program and the story behind it.

In the 21 years since its “ecological epiphany”, Interface has been reducing its footprint through traditionally sustainable programs such as “ReEntry” and “Cool Carpet”. ReEntry allows for post-consumer material to be recycled into new products, while Cool Carpet produces the world’s first carbon neutral carpet by using offsets. While these are commendable green solutions, Interface’s true merit lies in their going substantially beyond that: they have systemically analyzed their processes, sought to emulate nature in several of their products, and are closing the loop for the sourcing of their raw materials, while diversifying the economic livelihood of impoverished communities. This systemic analysis and biomimicry approach to design have resulted in two exemplary products called TacTiles and Entropy. TacTiles eliminate the need for glue during carpet installation, resulting in an environmental footprint that is 90% lighter than traditional glue adhesives. Entropy tiles emulate the “organized chaos” of forest floors and produce as little as 1.5% waste compared to as much as 14% for the broadloom carpet.

The last component of Interface’s remarkable sustainability vision refers to its Net-Works program. In February 2014, it announced that it would be using discarded fishing nets, collected by impoverished communities in the Philippines, to create a new carpet called Net Effects. The communities sell the nets to Aquafil, one of Interface’s key suppliers, who then combines them with recycled carpet fluff from the aforementioned ReEntry program. The end product is a beautiful carpet design that is inspired by the ocean’s life-giving power, as well as its plight. And just like the ocean gives life, this ocean-like carpet helps protect it by cleaning up beaches and coral reefs, which in turn protects fishermen’s livelihood and provides them with another form of income.

Net-Effects On the Road to Mission Zero News

Even though you probably don’t have fishing nets to weave a carpet at home, here are some simple DIY projects showing you how to make a rug from plastic bags and how to use mesh bags from your fruits or vegetables, if you’re feeling inspired:

Plastic Bag Carpet: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Rug-from-Plastic-Grocery-Bags/?ALLSTEPS#step0

Ideas for Mesh Bag Use: http://ecogreenlove.com/2013/07/25/reusing-produce-mesh-net-bags/