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Universal Fibers, InterfaceFLOR <br>Team To Recycle Nylon 6,6

Universal Fibers Inc., Bristol, Va., a manufacturer of solution-dyed yarns for commercial and transportation carpet and industrial uses, has developed new technology to produce nylon 6,6 fiber from recycled carpet. The company states the technology provides the first economically viable process to turn post-consumer nylon 6,6 carpet fiber into new, virgin-quality nylon 6,6 products.

The technology works together with technology introduced by LaGrange, Ga.-based carpet tile producer InterfaceFLOR LLC, a division of Interface Inc., Atlanta, to separate carpet face fiber from backing so both materials can be recycled. InterfaceFlor — which has formed an exclusive alliance with technology developers Sergio Dell’Orco of Italy-based Dell’Orco & Villani S.r.l. and Frank J. Levy of Quogue, N.Y.-based Stellamcor Inc., co-owners of Post Consumer Carpet Processing Technologies LLC (PCC), Quogue — expects to be able to divert 30 million pounds of nylon 6,6 and other carpet from landfills annually using one machine that features the technology. The company hopes to put additional machines into service around the world, said Eric Nelson, vice president, strategic alliances, Interface Americas.

“In the past, there have been ways to downcycle nylon 6,6 into other products, but this is really the first method to get it back into fiber,” Nelson said.

“Our industry as a whole has particularly struggled with developing a viable way to recycle nylon 6,6, the most prevalent fiber used in the commercial market,” said David Hobbs, president, InterfaceFlor Commercial. “[This] innovative technology … represents a breakthrough for our industry and furthers our progress toward eliminating virgin materials in our products.”

InterfaceFlor previewed ReEntropy™, the first commercial carpet line made with recycled nylon 6,6 fiber, at the recent NeoCon contract interiors trade fair.

“The ability to now reprocess post-consumer nylon 6,6 carpet fiber and produce high-quality product is a milestone for the flooring industry and the environment,” said Bill Goodman, vice president, sales and marketing, Universal Fibers. “This is another example of our efforts to innovate in the industry and bring a sustainable solution to a product. We encourage all our customers to innovate with us in this way.”

July/August 2007