In 2015, Interface, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, was looking to develop a more sustainable carpet tile backing. Interface’s first sustainability mission – Mission Zero – challenged the company to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by 2020. It will accomplish this through initiatives such as renewable energy use, waste and water reduction, using biobased or recycled materials and recycling products at end of life. Building on that, Interface’s new innovation project had two goals: eliminate the product’s use of virgin petrochemical materials and reduce the product’s carbon footprint.
To achieve this, Interface needed a supplier that could provide the right renewable material and formulate it to meet their needs. Kraton’s portfolio of biobased materials, expert R&D teams and global presence with locations in the Netherlands and the U.S. made us the right partner for this project. Our collaboration on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was also key to a successful partnership. LCA is an important tool Interface uses to measure their environmental impact; so it was important that we could provide consolidated environmental data for the company’s Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).
This collaboration led to the creation of CircuitBac Green, a carpet tile backing innovation with high environmental performance. Circuitbac Green uses a mix of bioplastics and mineral filler, providing a carbon-negative alternative to existing backing materials. This means the product stores more carbon than is emitted during its production, significantly reducing the overall carbon footprint of the finished carpet tile. The total recycled and biobased content for a product using CircuitBac Green can reach as high as 87 percent. CircuitBac Green launched in Europe in late 2017 to positive reception and is generating increased interest.
Skanska, a leading global project development and construction company, aims to be more sustainable with a goal to become climate neutral by 2045. To achieve that, they sought to increase the use of recycled asphalt (RAP) in all road layers. This means using more SYLVAROAD™ RP1000, a biobased rejuvenator, to allow for more effective asphalt recycling and minimization of virgin asphalt and aggregates production. Ultimately, this is intended to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment, reducing Skanska’s carbon footprint.
In late 2017, Skanska paved a section of Motorway E20, in southwest Sweden, with 30 percent RAP on its binder layer and 50 percent on its base layer. The test trial showed that the SYLVAROAD additive enabled performance levels that were at least equal to the reference with 20 percent RAP on its binder layer and 30 percent on its base layer.
SYLVAROAD additives help reduce the cost of purchasing virgin materials as well as the potential disposal fees, while increasing asphalt mix sustainability. These factors can lead to significant cost savings without affecting performance quality. In a mix with 60 percent RAP, formulators can achieve a 25 percent cost reduction compared to 100 percent virgin mix. By using this biobased solution, Skanska achieved higher environmental and economic sustainability.