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Shaw Announces New Green Initiative, Buys Dixie Yarn Plant

Dalton, Ga.-based carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Inc. has initiated a new environmental policy that will lead to more sustainable manufacturing practices and recycling efforts. The policy signals Shaw's commitment to manufacture carpet products whose components can be perpetually reclaimed through closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle recycling processes and reused in new carpet products.

The policy is exemplified by Shaw's e.g. (Environmental Guarantee) program, through which the company will collect, transport and recycle any carpet tile made with EcoWorx® environmentally sustainable carpet backing. Shaw estimates 75 percent of its tile production included the backing by the end of 2003.

The face and backing of carpet tiles made with EcoWorx and Shaw's EcoSolution Q® nylon 6 carpet yarn can be separated and recycled in a closed-loop process at the end of their useful life.

"We believe our new environmental policy is the most progressive policy in American industry," said Julian Saul, president. "We are committed to being an industry leader in creating eco-effective ways to produce carpet - it's the right thing to do for our business and the environment."

The policy reflects the cradle-to-cradle principles developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Ph.D., of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), Charlottesville, Va. Shaw uses MBDC's Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol to assess the sustainability of its materials, including manufacturing processes (See " Survival Tactics," March 2003).

In other news, Shaw has agreed to purchase Chattanooga, Tenn.-based The Dixie Group Inc.'s Ringgold, Ga., spun carpet yarn production plant for $6.7 million. The agreement comes on the heels of Shaw's recent $205 million purchase of Dixie's Calhoun, Ga.-based yarn, tufting, dyeing, finishing, needlebond, distribution and logistics facilities; a needlebond plant in Dalton; and a carpet recycling plant in Lafayette, Ga.

January 2004