Today, solid production waste from a coating operation is being ground up and reused in formulations for new products. This is just the first step. In the interest of having technologies available for use when called upon, Dow has initiated internal programs in parallel with those of the CRI. A Carpet Sustainability Task Force has been formed to evaluate the environmental, social, and economic criteria toward sustainability of polyurethane backed carpet. Several developmentalinvestigations are underway:
• A study has been completed where post-industrial material is added to the backing as recycled content.
• A mixture of a polyurethane slurry and solid production waste is under evaluation for use in formulations for new backings.
• Research is underway examining the use of renewable raw materials in the production of polyurethane carpet backing.
• Additional evaluations under investigation include waste-to-energy and conversion of used carpet to alternative products.
The work does not stop here. Experts at major universities with expertise in textiles and plastics have also been solicited as consultants to help us answer the question, “What will be done with the carpet at the end of its useful life?” Towards this end, we are working with an expert consultant to detail the Life Cycle Analysis of polyurethane-backed carpet.
Recognizing Success and Hard Work
Dow’s commitment to Sustainable Development builds on our long-standing efforts to reduce our environmental impact. In 1996, very stretched and stringent goals were set for the whole company to improve our Environmental, Health, and Safety Performance. These so-called 2005 goals are focussed on driving toward a vision of zero – as in no accidents, no injuries, and no harm to the environment. Movement toward this vision is measured through assessment of key targets, including waste and energy reduction: While we continue to learn at Dow, we are making progress. Government and private agencies have recognized Dow’s commitment to the principles of sustainability. A few recent examples include:
• 2000 Clean Air Excellence Award by the EPA
• 2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the top U.S. environmental award
Additionally, Dow was again selected this year as a component of The Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index (DJSGI). This Switzerland based joint venture of Dow Jones Indexes and SAM Sustainability Group rated our performance as the best in our industry group. More information on DJSGI can be found at the web site: www.sustainability-index.com. For additional information on Dow’s carpet backing products, please visit www.dowcarpetbackings.com, or call 1-800-847-4212.