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Advancing the circular agenda with a first-in-kind warranty extension

FLOORING is seldom viewed as a circular asset. With a key focus on a move away from sending flooring waste to landfill, once a building has been refurbished or an occupant has moved out, what if flooring could be offered a second life, and under an extended warranty?

The concept of reusable tiles opens a whole new dynamic for those managing buildings and property portfolios through a circular lens, and with that a new line of business for flooring installers.

Indeed, organisations are constantly looking for new ways to boost their ESG credentials, and if the UK’s net zero targets are going to be met, decarbonising the country’s building stock is going to play a lead role. Importantly, there’s a carbon impact benefit too as there’s no associated embodied carbon linked to the second location.

Confidence to reuse carpet
For flooring contractors, those which are able to support reductions in embodied carbon emissions stand to benefit from offering a greater appeal to ESG-mindful building owners and managers.

Shaw Contract is helping make this a reality by offering guarantees on the performance of its carpet tiles in a second location, with a 15-year warranty when that flooring is installed using IOBAC MagTabs. And with average replacement cycles of carpet tiles typically five to seven years, this really extends the product’s usable life.

Why MagTabs? Put simply, the flooring installation method has a significant impact on the ease with which overall flooring systems can be reused or recycled – flooring products installed using adhesive-based methods can end up in landfill after one use as adhesive residue and contamination hinders recyclability.

Adhesive-free installation facilitates flooring reuse as it ensures both the floor covering and sub-floor are left clean and contamination-free on uplift. MagTabs are magnetic on one side and self-adhesive on the other, which allows floor tiles to be removed cleanly and easily for reuse or recycling, with the sub-floor left contamination-free and ready for the next flooring installation.

By extending its warranty to a second location, Shaw Contract is providing customers with the peace of mind that their flooring can be reused, after inspection and approval from the company.

Ian Spreadborough, co-founder and director at IOBAC UK, comments: ‘Shaw Contract’s introduction of a warranty is a massive industry step forward in making flooring reuse a reality. Now we’re giving specifiers and clients the practical reassurance that Shaw Contracts’ products will perform just as well on their second life as their first.’

Indeed, flooring contractors can now show their customers a product that can be treated as an asset feeding into the circular economy, supporting sustainable building design.

Financial benefit can also be realised. Andrew Jackson, business development director at Shaw Contract, explains: ‘Using the non-adhesive MagTabs installation method over metal raised access flooring reduces and even negates sub-flooring and tile contamination.

‘It benefits tenants as the floorcovering – the carpet tiles – can be lifted and installed in another space or building, and reused with little cost, and now with the MagTabs warranty in place alongside the carpet tiles’ warranty.’

Driving progress in the circular economy
This industry-first warranty offering is just one way in which Shaw Contract is working to support and advance the circular economy. And to support this important move, Shaw Contract is also making IOBAC MagTabs part of its In Stock UK programme and is the only manufacturer currently to do so. This enables quick delivery for fast turnaround projects.

From reducing waste, generating greater resource productivity and delivering a more competitive economy to better addressing resource scarcity issues and reducing the environmental impact of production and consumption, there are many components which companies can focus on to become more ‘circular’.

Shaw Contract underpins its approach to the circular economy with the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy. A sustainable product certification programme, it consists of five pillars concerning raw materials, product circularity, climate protection, water stewardship and social fairness. Shaw has been actively engaged in the initiative for more than 20 years, introducing the first Cradle-to-Cradle Certified flooring product to the market in 1999.

Today, the company continues to innovate new ways of operating more sustainably and firmly believes in an integrated approach to addressing sustainability challenges including those which relate to climate change which it calls People Together, Planet Forever.

This is why it frequently engages with industry to deepen its understanding of the circular economy, gauge sentiment among peers and identify barriers to advancing the circular agenda. For instance, in the build up to COP26 in Glasgow, Shaw worked with Insight Futures to canvas an industry-wide range of stakeholders in Scotland, and then in England and Wales, about how they could de-risk the move to a circular economy for the country’s built environment.

Several key findings emerged. While 98% acknowledged that their industry needed to change and 80% said the circular economy was part of their organisational strategy, the majority firms admitted they did not have a circular plan in place or implemented. Key barriers cited were a lack of knowledge and awareness, as well as capacity to make the circular shift.

Shaw Contract, with its MagTabs collaboration and warranty offering, is making it simpler for companies to take those small but hugely important first steps. By simply granting carpet tiles a new lease-of-life, companies can start new journeys towards becoming circular.

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