Closing the Loop: Shaw Uses Circular Design for its Sustainable Floors

Shaw / 5 min read

Healthy Homes Start Here

Shaw Industries designs flooring products and solutions to help you make better choices for your home. With its family of residential and commercial brands, Shaw offers a wide range of carpet, carpet tile, hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate, tile and stone flooring products that are beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean and align with healthy home principles – giving you peace of mind.

Sustain[HUMAN]ability® – Putting People at the Heart of Sustainability

Shaw believes everyone should have access to sustainable products for their homes and workspaces. Shaw’s efforts to sustain[HUMAN]ability® — or put people at the heart of sustainability — is a guidepost for all that they do. It governs their approach to how they design, manufacture and source their floors. Shaw’s strategy includes their aim to know as much as possible about their products, seek third-party certification, employ a sustainable sourcing policy and empower product innovation and design teams. Shaw is keenly focused on the ingredients that go into products and carefully considers the impacts of environmental factors like sound, moisture, cleanability and their effect on overall wellbeing.

Circular Design

For more than two decades, Shaw has been actively engaged in Cradle to Cradle® design, a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. The Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program is among the most rigorous third-party certifications in the world. Focusing on material health, product circularity, clean air & climate protection, water & soil stewardship, and social fairness, products are verified by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to include only chemicals and components that are safe for human contact, and that can be recycled or reused. Shaw is proud that nearly 90% of the products they manufacture are Cradle to Cradle Certified® – meaning they are assessed for all five pillars.

Cradle to Cradle Pillars

Material Health: Chemicals and materials used in the product are selected to prioritize the protection of human health and the environment, generating a positive impact on the quality of materials available for future use and cycling.

For a product to be deemed safe for people and the planet, it must pass a rigorous assessment. In 2020, Shaw assessed more than 1.8 billion pounds of raw and sourced materials for material health.

Product Circularity: Products are intentionally designed for their next use. This ensures products are designed with end-of-life recycling in mind and that products are manufactured with recycled material.

Shaw brought product circularity to life through their carpet reclamation program, re[TURN]® , which has recycled nearly 1 billion pounds of carpet since it started in 2006. In 2020, they launched an innovative performance shock pad made from reclaimed and recycled turf fields. The patented pad called NXTPlay® keeps the equivalent of one field turf out of the landfill for every pad produced.

Clean Air & Climate Protection: Requires product manufacturers to increase their levels of renewable energy use and reduce their carbon footprint. Product manufacturing results in a positive impact on air quality, the renewable energy supply, and the balance of climate changing greenhouse gases.

As a company, Shaw employs many measures to reduce their carbon footprint. Some of these efforts contribute to their products’ Cradle to Cradle Certified® status – including the use of solar panels on their carpet tile facility in Cartersville, Georgia.

Water & Soil Stewardship: Water and soil are treated as precious and shared resources. Watersheds and soil ecosystems are protected, and clean water and healthy soils are available to people.

In the past decade, Shaw has improved manufacturing water efficiency by more than 40%. Additionally, more than 10% of their enterprise water usage comes from recycled or reused sources.

Social Fairness: Companies are committed to upholding human rights and applying fair and equitable business practices.

Shaw’s brands recognize opportunities to do more in support of people and the greater good. Driving efforts and building a culture which embraces diversity and inclusion, Shaw works to ensure that people are treated fairly, equally – and with respect.

A Continuous Journey

Shaw believes they have a responsibility to provide flooring products and solutions to help make your home as comfortable as possible, as sustainable as possible, and — of course — as beautiful as possible. Their Cradle to Cradle® design journey requires continuous improvement. Products are reassessed every two years in order to be certified, and there is an expectation of progress in areas for improvement. It has forced them to be innovative, agile and creative in their products and processes and ultimately offer you better, more sustainable flooring options. Shaw has more Cradle to Cradle Certified® products than any manufacturer – of any product – in the world. Their commitment to Cradle to Cradle® design should provide added confidence in your purchasing decision, knowing their products are intentionally developed with both people and planet in mind.