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A benefit to business

Selby Carpets has been integrating recycling, from flooring waste to packaging, into its business since 2012. Andrea Lockerbie finds out how

London-based family-run flooring specialist Selby Carpets has just reached the recycling milestone of diverting over 10,000 sq m of carpet from landfill since mid-2012. On top of that, it is also recycling sheet carpet, vinyl, underlay and the cardboard and shrink-wrap packaging that its carpet tiles come delivered in.

According to managing director, Ian Winsley, it was his father’s passion for recycling and environmental reasons that got the business looking into the options available.

He explains: “We could see we were using a lot of skips, a lot of things were going to landfill. So we were trying to find out and mention to manufacturers, if there were ways of recycling it.”

A conversation with one of its vinyl flooring suppliers, Polyflor, known for having 100% recyclable materials, kicked started Selby’s recycling initiative in 2012.

“Our contact at Polyflor recommended we contact the Recofloor scheme which, for a small charge, provides metre-cubed bags. These are filled with the vinyl offcuts once they are divided into smooth and all other types of Safetyfloor,” he explains.

“The bags are placed on a pallet in our warehouse, and the fitters have been trained to divide offcuts in the correct bags. When full, they are shrink-wrapped, and collected by Recofloor, for which we receive a certificate.”

The waste flooring is either used to manufacture new flooring or traffic management products such as traffic cones and road sign bases.

Selby Carpets takes back both offcuts of new flooring and also old carpet tiles – these go to manufacturer Desso as part of its recycling scheme.

But recycling is currently a business cost. “We worked out it would be cheaper to still put everything in the skip for disposal.”

Costs are mainly for transportation, because the material is heavy and has to go to the north of England for recycling. Costs vary, so carpet tiles going back to Desso cost £75 per pallet including delivery, whereas for the underlay collected, Selby pays to transport the material.

But these costs have come down this year through efficiencies with diverting greater volumes. The business now also shares transport costs with a competitor. The competitor delivers material to Selby Carpets’ warehouse for wrapping, for a 10% admin fee.  

Selby has invested in a compactor to handle its cardboard. This is now baled and collected for free by an independent trader.

The business has received anecdotal evidence that its recycling initiative has won it business from clients. It is developing a page on its website to explain its recycling initiatives, so it can be a marketing asset.

Winsley admits that recycling has been a real struggle, in terms of finding people to take the various materials, cost effective ways of getting the material to recyclers, and also the warehouse space needed for segregation. He cites even small issues, such as people only agreeing to collect material if certain pallets are used.

Selby still has a skip for general waste, but the amount sent to landfill has drastically reduced, despite the business growing significantly over the past couple of years. Selby Carpets sees recycling as a long-term business benefit and its perserverence in this area has got it to where it is today.


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