September 17, 2012: Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface is striding ahead in its Mission Zero quest - to eliminate its impact on the environment by 2020 - with the unveiling of its first ever truly commercial carpet tile made from plant (or bio) based nylon. Fotosfera consists of yarn exclusive to Interface that is made from castor plant oil produced in rural communities. The product supports Interface's strategy to reduce its reliance on virgin petro-chemical raw materials and delivers strong environmental and socio-economic benefits.
Castor oil, the main ingredient of Fotosfera, is produced from the seeds of the castor bean plants that are fast-growing, rapidly renewable, and grow in hot, dry climates, in sandy loam soil. Hardier than many other crops, they can thrive in land prone to erosion, and only require water once in up to 25 days.
Around 70% of the world's castor bean plants are grown in India, where production also provides socio-economic benefits to local farmers. Castor bean plants grow on marginal land where other crops often struggle, providing farmers with additional income. What's more, unlike many other crops for bio-based materials, castor bean plants don't compete with food crops, as they can thrive on land unsuitable for other uses.
Nigel Stansfield, Chief Innovations Officer for Interface comments, "Fotosfera is a breakthrough product innovation for Interface. It has the good looks and high performance customers expect from our carpet tiles. But with 63% bio-based yarn content, Fotosfera accelerates our Mission Zero aim to eradicate our use of virgin petro- chemical raw materials in our products by 2020; it also provides sustainable business opportunities for rural farmers. This is early days but it's a compelling proof of us pushing the boundaries of what is possible - continually innovating in order to meet our customers' demands for ever more sustainable products."
Fotosfera comes in two designs - Structured and Micro - which are both available in eight co-ordinating colourways. As well as including 63% bio-based content, the designs benefit from some of Interface's other unique sustainability services. Like Biosfera, the product comes with the Cool Carpet carbon neutral service and the glue-less installation method TacTiles as standard, further reducing the product's impact on the environment.
Interface and Zero virgin materials
One of the pledges of Interface Founder Ray Anderson in 1994 was to 'cut the reliance on oil'. Fotosfera is the latest in a series of Interface initiatives aimed at eliminating the company's use of virgin petrol chemical raw materials and 'closing the loop'. It follows the successful uptake of Biosfera 1 - the industry's first carpet collection made from 100% recycled yarn - and comes hot on the heels of the launch of an innovative pilot in Danajon Bank, the Philippines.
The pilot aims to build a community-based supply chain for recycled fishing nets, providing alternative raw materials for Interface products while cleaning beaches and delivering socio-economic benefits to the local community. Interface is a global leader in the design and production of carpet tiles. Its products combine beauty and innovation with functionality and environmental credentials to help customers bring their design vision to life.
Deepti Somasekaran, Interface, India. Tel: +91 80 30589356 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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