Earlier this month, a small group of Carson Design Associates team members traveled down to Dalton, Georgia to visit Shaw Contract, a global brand of Shaw Industries specializing in floor coverings.
Abbey Kochert: “It is our responsibility as designers to execute smart selection — selecting materials that positively impact both building and human health. We had the honor and privilege of hearing from Tim Conway, Shaw Contract’s VP of Global Accounts and Sustainability Account Development, on making sustainable choices and spearheading change. Tim spoke about Shaw Contract’s emphasis on “cradle-to-cradle” design — a focus on safe and healthy materials, renewable energy, water stewardship, material reutilization and social fairness — and the benefits of this design mindset, “[Cradle to Cradle] doesn’t just check a box, it creates an outcome.” As a result, we spoke with Shaw about steps we can take to ensure we’re shifting our design process accordingly.”
Andrea: “I enjoyed getting to meet the Shaw design and marketing team and see firsthand the depth of inspiration, design, and thought that goes into each product they produce. Specifically, I discovered the importance of going beyond simply seeing if a product is labeled as sustainable to looking at the materials used in the product. Down the road, companies will need to be more transparent about this by placing ingredients labels on their products — very similar to how our food includes ingredients and a nutrition value label. Furthermore, I discovered that there is a recycling business here in Indianapolis — Kruse Carpet Recycling — that takes demolished carpet and sends it back to Shaw to go through their reclamation and recycling process.”
Cynthia: “While the industry, as a whole, has increased its focus on sustainability, I discovered there is still much to be done in terms of helping clients understand their impact on the environment and human health. The presentation at the Shaw Create Center reminded us all of the importance and significance of our specification. If the client believes sustainable products cost more, it’s up to us to educate them on why that’s not always the case. I plan to be more responsible to the environment in future specifications, without losing respect for the budget and cost to client.
Also, like Andrea, I was intrigued to learn that Shaw will reclaim any carpet from demolition or sample products. Upon receiving the demoed carpet (broadloom or tile), they will break down the materials to use in new products. Even if the carpet is not one of their own, Shaw will responsibly recycle the carpet, as needed — saving countless pounds of carpet waste from sitting in landfills. I hope other manufacturers look for similar ways of providing designers the opportunity to responsibly recycle their materials.”