Building Sustainable Communities

Our support ranges from volunteers'
helping hands to donations of
flooring products.


Zero Waste Is
Adding Up

More sites are earning our zero
waste certification.

Green products

We provide residential and commercial customers a wide range
of products that utilize recycled and/or renewable materials.


Growth Done Well

That’s our goal. Business expansion continues to be the hallmark of our strategy as we build upon our position as the world’s largest flooring manufacturer. We’re committed to growing in ways that are environmentally sound, socially responsible and
that make sense for our stakeholders.

20+ Years of Growth Done Well

See how we’ve transformed our business from a North American
carpet manufacturer to one of the largest flooring companies in the
world today.


in Mohawk

CEO Jeff Lorberbaum discusses how we’re building
a strong and sustainable business.


Recycled Input

It’s not always easy to use recycled materials.


The Challenges of Recycled Inputs

One of our most effective environmental efficiency strategies in recent years has been an ambitious landfill waste diversion program that includes a high degree of recycling. But we also see recycling as a two-way street — minimizing not only what we put in the landfill, but also maximizing what we can pull out.

We’re finding that the second part of this equation, even when it makes environmental and economic sense, has the potential to be a bumpy ride. A closer look at two flooring categories offers insights into what happens when you try to increase the amount of recycled content in product, but the recycled material is simply not there.

On the surface, carpet made from polyethylene, or PET, bottles has been a resounding success. Indeed, plastic bottles are the poster child of recycling in the U.S. The technology has been around for more than three decades and provides a cost-effective alternative to virgin polyester.

Mohawk alone has been able to divert 3 billion pounds of bottles from landfill while offering our customers a carpet with 100 percent recycled content. Extending our commitment, in 2013 we invested $180 million to debut a new manufacturing process to create an even higher-quality carpet from PET bottles, expanding one of our fastest-growing categories.

Demand for PET-recycled content is strong, but what about supply? It’s often constrained. In fact, only 31.2 percent of PET bottles in the U.S. were recycled in 2014. While that percentage is higher than in the past, it nevertheless means that two-thirds of plastic bottles, or more than 4 billion pounds, are still ending life in a landfill.

Improving plastic bottle recycling is largely dependent upon changing consumer behavior, but there are other roadblocks in the quest to increase the supply of PET-recycled content. Single-stream recycling, for example, has helped to increase PET-recycling volume, but often results in quality contamination of PET material. That, in turn, presents both cost and operational issues for reclaimers.

Uneven material quality can also create a roadblock for post-consumer wood waste, another important input for flooring manufacturers seeking to increase their use of recycled content. Unlike plastic bottles marked with a No. 1, wood has no identification system to distinguish various types of wood waste. Some wood is solid, some is pressed filled with adhesive, while other material is coated with plastic. Although it all may “read” as wood, the hodge-podge chemical composition can easily shut down the recycling process.

There are additional hurdles in Belgium, where much of our wood-based product manufacturing is located. Wood itself presents a sourcing challenge as land constraints limit the amount of virgin material from forests in the region. This makes post-consumer wood waste all the more important. But we’re not the only purchaser seeking the more than 1.3 billion pounds of wood that households and businesses dispose of annually. With the EU calling for 20 percent renewable energy, this resource is also in high demand by electric utilities as a biomass feedstock.

In recognition of how vital wood waste is to manufacturing growth in the region, the Flemish government has stipulated that wood streams must be used as a raw material as often and as long as possible before ending up as biomass. With this support in place, we’ve joined waste collectors, waste sorters and recyclers in a two-year study to develop, analyze and evaluate different scenarios around the many roadblocks to wood waste recycling in the region. The goal is to find a way to repurpose wood waste at least one more time before it ultimately reaches end-of-life as biomass material. This project has led our wood panel business in Belgium to increase its sourcing of urban wood as a raw material from 30 to 80 percent. We’re also collaborating with an external party to transform MDF waste to active carbon, which could result in the first recycled use of MDF boards.

As with any journey, obstacles are to be expected as we pursue our sustainability objectives. We’ve seen how innovation and collaboration can find not only a way around, but also, often a way right through these obstructions. The business imperative is clear: Consumers and commercial customers are seeking more recycled content in the products we offer. That bottom-line consideration will continue to motivate us — but so, too, will the opportunity to be a leader in contributing to a zero waste future.