ICS Magazine

Mohawk, Wal-Mart team up for bottle recycling

April 21, 2008

CALHOUN, GA -- Mohawk Industries will partner with the Calhoun Wal-Mart to hold a trial recycling program for plastic soft drink bottles this week.

Employees of Mohawk Greenworks and Wal-Mart will put recycling bins in the store to accept clear and green plastic drink bottles with the number “1” on them, said David Braden, director of Post Industrial Waste Division with Mohawk Industries.

“Mohawk has become a very green company, and this is a way to expand and share what we do with recycling,” Braden said. “The management of the Calhoun Wal-Mart approached us about participating in a recycling program at their store. If the trial program works, it could lead to something bigger.”

The trial program is the result of an initiative by management and staff of the Calhoun Wal-Mart to celebrate “Earth Week.”

“Earth Day is next week, and the Calhoun Wal-Mart wanted to have an Earth Week to encourage people to recycle,” Braden said. “Wal-Mart is a leader in both awareness and action on environ-mental issues in the world, and Mohawk is a leader on the issue in our industry. We are excited to expand our business relationship into this global issue.”

The Mohawk Greenworks Mobile will be outside the store, and Mohawk employees will be giving away promotional items on Friday.

During the week, Mohawk will have recycling bins at Wal-Mart for customers to place their plastic bottles in.

Braden said the recycled soft drink bottles - milk jugs and other types of plastic containers can-not be accepted at this time - are turned into fiber which can be manufactured into carpet.

The bottles are trucked to Mohawk’s plant in Summerville GA, where they are chipped, melted and extruded into carpet fiber.

“Mohawk turns 3 billion plastic bottles into carpet every year,” Braden said. It is one of the largest recycling programs in the carpet industry, converting as much as one-quarter of all the soft drink bottles sold in the United States into carpet fiber, according to the company.

Calhoun-based Mohawk is the largest recycler in the flooring industry. More than 500 Mohawk products, including carpet, carpet tiles, cushion, laminates, and ceramic tile-contain recycled materials.

“It’s easy to say you’re green. It’s a lot more difficult to actually be green,” said Frank Endrenyi, vice president of Sustainable Development for Mohawk. “Greenworks is designed to help people understand how much effort goes into this process-and how it impacts every level of our company.”

Endrenyi said Greenworks covers the spectrum of environmental practices-the “5 Rs”-recycle, renew, reuse, recover, and reduce. He noted that Mohawk leads the floorcovering industry in many environmental efforts, and has been cited by government agencies as a pioneer for other industries to follow.

Last year, the company launched MohawkGreenworks.com, an eco-savvy site dedicated to high-lighting its environmental efforts and social responsibility initiatives - bringing all of the company’s green projects together on a single platform called “Greenworks.”