published Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Carpet manufacturer committed to green initiatives

by Brittany Cofer

* What: Shaw Green Edge platform — an eco-friendly initiative the business has undertaken that encompasses its companywide sustainability efforts, which include 150 to 200 projects, products and processes.

* Company: Shaw Industries Group

* Location: 616 E Walnut Ave., Dalton, Ga.

* How it’s green: One of the hallmarks of the Shaw Green Edge is its “cradle to cradle” process, said Jeff West, director of sustainability and product stewardship. Cradle to cradle products, such as its EcoWorx carpet tile, are designed so they can be recycled back to their purest form to be reused again and again. “You can’t tell any difference,” he said. “It’s just like starting over.”

* Why do it this way? Since carpet is typically made from synthetic materials, it does not decompose. And if it’s put in a landfill “it just sits there,” said David Wilkerson, corporate director of sustainability and product stewardship. Wilkerson said the Green Edge platform provides socially, environmentally and economically responsible solutions for Shaw’s carpet production.

* Plans for expanding: West said the company is always seeking to grow its eco-friendly initiatives, and now is in the process of increasing its offerings of post-consumer products.

* Advice for others considering green initiatives: For green initiatives to take root, they must be an integral part of everything the business is doing, West said. Both men said senior leadership within the company must have a vested interest in making the initiatives work by finding solutions to fit the business’s needs.

* Is environmentalism an essential part of the business and why? Sustainability is a core principle of Shaw Industries, said Emma Williams, environmental communications manager. She said the company sees environmental responsibility as a vital piece of its day-to-day operations.

— Compiled by staff writer Brittany Cofer,

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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