When will we learn to look after what we've got?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021



Howard O’ Brien, Managing Director of Traffik UK Ltd, on why we should all be paying more attention to the “Circular Economy” concept and take a forward-thinking approach to the installation and maintenance of commercial flooring to reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact.


Floor Coverings and The Circular Economy


The space between action and words on Corporate Social Responsibility commitments can be vast. For instance, around 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste (the size of Birmingham) is thrown way each year the majority of which either ends up in landfill or is incinerated, costing the UK around £16.5million (Carpet Recycling UK).


Recycling schemes are only scratching at the surface and will take time before they make a real difference and, as yet, international and corporate embarrassment has not made more organisations deliver on their green promises, or as Greta Thunberg says, the blah, blah, blah…. So, until the corporate drive and technology catch up with the real world the only solution is to look after what you've got, for longer.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (ellenmacarthurfoundation.org) promotes the ‘Circular Economy’ concept – the need to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.


The concept suggests that the material used to create products must be considered right from the outset and designed with longevity in mind – can it be reused, repaired or even remanufactured at a later date? The aim being to ‘design out’ waste even before the product is finished. In a nutshell, we have the responsibility to take care of what we have got and build it better in the first place.


Choices made at the initial design stage define approximately 80% of environmental impacts (Ellen MacArthur Foundation).

Prolonging the Life of Carpets and Hard Floors


Here at Traffik, we believe in protecting and prolonging the life of floor coverings through effective maintenance. We aim to reinstate floor coverings (carpet and hard floor) for future years, thus avoiding surplus or unnecessary landfill or incineration.


Recently, Traffik restored 17-year-old carpets throughout one of the UK’s leading distribution company’s Headquarters, as part of a large refurbishment programme for the whole building. Just under four thousand square metres of good quality, but heavily trafficked, unmaintained carpet was fully restored as the finishing touch to the redesign and refurbishment of the building.


The result? Over £80,000.00 saved on replacement carpets with no disruption to the company’s working schedule as the carpets were restored using dry extraction systems during evenings and a weekend. However, most importantly no waste, landfill, cleaning chemical residue and no reason, (now that the company have implemented a regular dry carpet maintenance schedule), that the carpets cannot last another 17 years.


So, unless some 5-10 years ago, someone, somewhere looking for short term cost savings specified a wafer thin, 20 fibres to the square inch carpet – then you can restore what you have and keep it ‘Circling’; providing an attractive, comfortable and healthy surface to walk on, for another decade or two.


The Future For Carpets and Hard Floors


The good news is that that many of the big carpet manufacturers are now producing high specification, long lasting and completely recyclable product that is easy to clean and maintain - and in a world of shrinking resource it is the only sensible route to take.


Traffik have been maintaining floors of all types for over 30 years for high street chains, prestige offices and the healthcare & leisure sectors…. maybe you know of a floor on life support that needs saving?


For further information about our carpet cleaning services or to arrange a trial clean please visit our carpet cleaning page or contact the office direct on 01985 840400 | info@traffik.uk.com

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