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Dow Brings Recyclable Carpet One Step Closer to Reality

March 19, 2009
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Midland, MI .- Barriers to truly sustainable solutions abound. So when a technology comes along that breaks those barriers, manufacturers pay attention. And now, one of the limitations to producing recyclable carpet has been addressed with HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions from The Dow Chemical Company.

Many advances to make carpet recyclable have been achieved over the years, but providing a recyclable backing material has been a significant challenge. HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions take carpet sustainability to the next level in multiple applications including modular carpet, broadloom, thermo-moldable products and artificial turf allowing carpet manufacturers to apply a thermoplastic backing, rather than a thermoset backing, while still using conventional coating equipment.

Unlike many traditional carpet backing technologies, HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions are thermoplastic which tends to be more compatible with carpet fibers and can facilitate easier recycling at the end of the carpet’s life.

"With more than seven billion pounds (about 3 metric tonnes) of carpet disposed of in North America and Europe together each year, enhancing the recyclability of carpet can have a huge environmental and economic impact" said Mike Levinson, commercial director, Dow Ventures & Business Development. "Improved technology partnered with sustainability advantages make HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions a winning choice for carpet manufacturers"

Foamtex A.S., an Ikast, Denmark-based commission finisher for several carpet manufacturers, employs HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions to achieve some very specific carpet bonding properties with their unique carpet backing process.

"The polyolefin base of HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions is in line with our move towards recyclable and sustainable products" said Bruno Gade Nielsen, managing director, Foamtex A.S. "Plus, HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions have very low odor and excellent wet strength"

Thermoplastic backings also use less material, which may help preserve resources and energy and result in a lighter weight carpeting. A lighter weight product typically requires less cost and fuel for shipping and allows for easier installation.

"In many commercial broadloom applications, HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions require about 20 percent less material per unit of carpeting, facilitates easier recycling, has excellent physical properties and provides differentiation in the marketplace" said Todd Crook, global marketing manager, Dow Flooring. "Introducing olefinic performance benefits into a traditional latex application not only enhances the performance of the carpet backing, but also gives our customers additional design flexibility as they develop new carpet systems"

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