Following suit are companies like Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Surfaces, which have made enormous strides in recycling post-consumer products to create new and innovative materials. In the last year, Polycor, the parent company of Vetrazzo, made two significant strides in their commitment to sustainability: receiving silver level Cradle to Cradle certification for 42 of its products; and a unique example of upcycling—the development of, Pierre Habitat, a planet-friendly hardware collection generated from recycled and reclaimed glass and/or existing stone and slab waste, all turned into beautiful artisanal objects.
However, Vetrazzo is not alone, there are hundreds of other companies around the United States that are making an impact on local communities through job growth, and a national impact through the availability of innovative products on the broader market. This collective effort is changing the home and building products landscape, and will continue to give consumers smarter and better options.
Specifically within the recycled surface space, whether you are in the market for carpet or tile or pavers, there are some great companies out there doing some really innovative work. Here is a sampling of some of the most interesting products and tail blazing companies that are committed to both beauty and social responsibility:
Crossville Inc., an innovative leader and sustainability pioneer in the porcelain tile industry, commitment to sustainability extends not only to products but to its design solutions. By harnessing the power of light, water and oxygen, their Hydrotect ™ glazing solution defends against dirt, pollution and bacteria. It’s a revolutionary product that actually improves air quality and reduces the need for maintenance.
Bella Terra, Recycled Earth Products. The Rochester, NY based company manufactures natural stone pavers from recycled granite. This material, which would otherwise be relegated to a landfill, offers consumers an afforable paving solution and provides the durability and style that only natural stone can do.
Twenty years ago, Interface®, who is the worldwide leader in design, production and sales of environmentally-responsible modular carpet, led the way with their Mission Zero® promise to eliminate by 2020 any negative effect the manufacturing of its carpet tiles has on the environment.
While this evolving landscape is an indication of change, there are signs of a larger cultural shift when it comes to disposal of unwanted materials and products. Last year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its report on municipal solid waste generation, recycling, and disposal for the United States. Solid waste generation per capita hit a 25+ year low, while recycling (recycled materials and compost) hit an all-time high. According to the report, paper, cardboard, metals, glass and plastics remain the highest percentage of materials recovered from solid waste, all of which then find a way into a variety of home and building product materials.
The EPA also announced that it has shifted its efforts from waste management to seeking a systematic approach to sustainable materials management, and will explore the connection between personal consumer expenditures and the generation of wastes. This renewed focus and commitment aligns with the mission of many building product manufacturers and provides hope that the country is moving in a positive direction towards a sustainable future.