Solutions at Work

The first Powerbond® installation at the Chattanooga Airport occurred over 20 years ago. When it came time to refresh the space and do an expansive floor-to-ceiling remodel at the airport’s facilities, the decision to reinstall Powerbond was unanimous.

With over 640,000 people traveling through the airport campus on a yearly basis and a record-breaking number of travelers in 2013, the facility required not only a flooring product with endless design capabilities, but one that was also durable, long-lasting, and sustainable. Powerbond, once again, proved to be the solution.

Tandus Centiva’s Powerbond is a hybrid resilient sheet flooring, impermeable to moisture and 100% recyclable. Powerbond was first introduced 50 years ago, many years before the circular economy concept had been developed. It was designed as a high-performance product meeting the customer’s demands for something long-lasting and durable. This fits the model of circular economy by maintaining the highest level of value for the materials used in manufacturing for the longest period of time. Powerbond is the six-time winner and sole recipient of the Antron® Fiber Sustainable Flooring award. During the first Powerbond install at the Chattanooga Airport, Tandus Centiva was in the process of developing a carpet whose backing was made from 100% recycled content. That product, ER3®, was designed to make use of current Tandus Centiva PVC-backed products as well as other manufacturers’ products. This allowed for Powerbond to be sold as a recyclable and sustainable product, again, maintaining the highest value for the raw materials at end of use, a circular economy concept.          

“Sustainability-wise, the airport is trying to become the greenest airport in the world, and in doing so, we wanted a product we can put down on the floor, keep it for 23 years and at the end of those 23 years, be able to recycle it,” said John Naylor, the airport’s vice president of planning and development.

All of the Powerbond that was removed from the airport terminal was recycled into ER3 modular carpet at Tandus Centiva’s third-party certified reclamation facility and placed into the new flooring that is now in one of the airport’s LEED-certified general aviation buildings. As the current circular economy model has been developed, the use of “good materials” has become mandatory. All materials in Powerbond have been assessed, allowing for the next generation of Powerbond to be reintroduced into new carpet with no concerns about material quality, and reducing our need for virgin raw materials. This fact contributes toward our 2020 goals: having 75% of our material from renewable sources and not contribute towards resource scarcity. It also helps in our goal for all manufacturing waste to enter into a closed-loop technical cycle of recycling. Approximately 46,000 pounds of material was reclaimed from the Chattanooga Airport.

As we move forward with the circular economy concepts, it will be important to design products to allow for increased ease of de-construction. This will ensure that individual raw material can be held into an even tighter circle of value (i.e., fiber into fiber). However, considering products should be designed for durability, designing for deconstruction is a difficult task. Redesigning the manufacturing process will allow for new methods that can create more pure streams of raw materials during the recycling process. “Tarkett is moving from a linear economy to a circular model; we welcome partnerships with entities like the Chattanooga Airport supporting this new circular model,” said Diane Martel, Tarkett’s Vice President of environmental planning and strategy. 

Bennett, Russell
Recycling Director, Tarkett North America