Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spotlight on Pre-Consumer Recycling


When it comes to recycling the focus is often placed on the post-consumer end but companies are increasingly diverting their attention to the energy and materials that go into their products before they even reach the market.

For the carpet industry, one such example is J&J Industries AquafinityTM Water Reclamation System. Since the system went on the line in March 2012, J&J has fine-tuned the system to recover 60-75% of their dyehouse wastewater annually. In a state like Georgia where water resources are increasingly strained, closing loops on water use is both good for business and the environment.

                                                          Floor Covering News, May/June 2004

Specifically, 60-75% of water recovered through the AquafinityTM system translates to 25-27 million gallons of dyehouse wastewater recycled per year. Furthermore, the output water is warmer, cleaner and homogenous which means less energy is needed to warm the water, saving 5 billion BTU’s of energy each year as well.

While the system required an investment, according to Howard Elder, Director of Research and Environmental Affairs at J&J Industries, said in a release,  “The reuse of wastewater in carpet dyeing is an environmentally innovative process that J&J is proud to pioneer.” Not to mention, based on the system’s performance J&J expects to recover the cost in as little as three years.

Perhaps the greenest aspect of the Aquafinity Water Reclamation System however is J&J’s mindset. Rather than coveting the technology to gain a leg up in the industry, J&J has been offering tours to associates, customers, regional offices and competitors since the system was installed.

While not specifically in CARE’s mission statement, limiting resources on the front-end of carpet production is also something to be celebrated.  In the end, it's all part of designing for sustainability and fortunately the industry continues to provide us with exciting stories to share!

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