Belgotex Floors’ recently released their Sustainability Report detailing their ongoing ‘Green Journey’ to ensure a greener tomorrow for all its stakeholders.
Although their growing “Eco collection” of carpets, backings and underlays contributes towards green design, Belgotex’s focus is more on resource efficiency and cleaner production than just producing a range of green materials.
Belgotex is cognisant of the fact that floorcoverings (carpets) can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of humans and the environment and therefore it designs and develops floorcoverings under the following sustainable guidelines:
- Extending the life of an existing product through responsible manufacturing techniques and processes.
- Developing products that can be reworked in their existing form.
- Using raw materials that can be recycled at the end of their useful aesthetic life.
- Using recycled content whenever it is both economically and environmentally feasible.
Certified to ISO14001 standards, the company produces a range of flooring products that satisfy criteria for both GBCSA- Materials credits [EMS, recycled content, and
product stewardship], as well as for Indoor Environment Quality credits [by meeting the strict requirements for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.] In their continued efforts to improve their production processes and products Belgotex centres its operations based on the 3 pillars of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and it is here where the greatest gains in terms of sustainability are being made.
“At Belgotex, sustainability extends way beyond mere environmental management and traditional recycling,” comments Kevin Walsh, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Belgotex.
“Our main goal is to operate a green factory wherever economically and environmentally feasible,” he explains.
Careful examination of their operations identified the use of raw materials, energy management, carbon management, water management and air quality as having significant considerations.
Analysis of the use of natural resources in their manufacturing operations, as well as the energy used for that production results in continuous investment in new technology to enhance existing products and develop new ones. These upgrades have reduced energy and/or raw material consumption, without any loss of productivity or quality.
A number of key inputs to Belgotex’s products are derived from non-renewable fossil fuel products. To minimise the risks posed by raw material depletion and climate change, Belgotex are constantly seeking out new, more sustainable inputs and are committed to innovation within its product lines and manufacturing processes. Belgotex continues to strive to increase recycled content within its product range by implementing innovative raw material input strategies.
The raw materials for various “green” eco-products are derived from post-industrial and post-consumer waste such as Green underlay, Sportec Color rubber flooring and Grimebuster walk-off mats. The bestselling Berber Point 920 and other needlepunch ranges are made with a blend of polypropylene and recycled Eco Fibre. This Eco-fibre is manufactured using post production waste, which is re-pelletized(utilising the cutting edge Erema recycling machinery). The input of this recycled content in their production process considerably lowers the embodied energy associated with virgin raw material use. Nexbac Eco modular tile backing, contain up to 70% post-industrial waste (fly-ash) used as a filler in the backing.
Apart from the raw material supply, energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions are another major consideration, since the majority of Belgotex’s manufacturing processes are driven by fossil fuels. In an attempt to manage this risk and a potential carbon tax liability, Belgotex aims to positively manage this risk by tracking and mitigating its effects on the environment. In its 6th year of quantifying its carbon footprint, Belgotex is pleased to announce a ~ 16% reduction in its carbon footprint, due to the integrated carbon management systems implemented.
Belgotex incorporated a resource efficiency and cleaner production strategy that has seen the implementation of numerous initiatives that has resulted in the reduction of energy consumption by ~12%. This was achieved by amongst others, the R17 million roof-mounted solar plant that offset ~2.5% of carbon emissions, reducing them by 1386 tons per annum. A further 5% reduction target is anticipated with the possible installation of another 1MW solar plant.
A comprehensive water management system was implemented, reducing the factory’s water consumption by about 45% since 2009. A rain water harvesting initiative is currently being rolled out, for completion during the year. Many other water saving initiatives such as 100% solution dyed yarn production has resulted in a significant water, chemical and energy savings
Waste minimisation programmes form part of our EMS (ISO14001). Waste is monitored and measured continuously to ensure progress targets are met.
In line with the well-known 3R’s of waste management – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Belgotex seek to reduce inputs (for energy/resources), reuse materials and recycle waste from its operations wherever possible.
Stackable, mobile metal crates have replaced cardboard boxes or packaging of any kind in their yarn processing operations, reducing the amount of packaging to be recycled or sent to landfills. Bulk storage silos and stretch wrap are used wherever possible to eliminate the need for raw material packaging.
Belgotex’s Flooring Reclamation programme collects used or uplifted carpets from central collections points to be cleaned and sent to NGO’s such as KZN Wildlands for re-use and redistribution to impoverished communities in their “Green-preneur” project. Acquisition of innovative bit-winders has seen the elimination of a complete stream of waste by creating grade 1 yarn from waste creel-ends.
The acquisition of a new R5-million Erema machine enables the company to recycle production waste back into Eco fibre which is used in the production of standard ranges. Effectively reducing their waste rates from their carpet production processes to close to zero, the Erema machine offers up to 20% energy savings, resulting in lower production costs and reduced CO2 emissions.
Indoor Air Quality
Belgotex carpets and underlays have been tested and contain no harmful volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and meet the strict requirements for the Green Building Council’s indoor environmental quality.
Rest assured, whatever floor you choose from Belgotex Floors, it will always be green.
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