More resasons to be circular

The social value available from the humble carpet tile

Ellen Petts, Founder and Managing Director

Everything you have in your office has been produced, packaged, delivered and put in place, this involved both the financial cost of buying it but also the environmental cost in terms of the carbon used to produce, package and deliver it to your office.  Therefore everything in your office is an asset and although accountants might ‘write items off’ items through depreciation, depreciation is a man-made term that does not take into account the real cost of the chair, the table, the shelf or the flooring.


The humble carpet tile, if viewed as an asset has enormous secondary social, environmental and ‘bottom-line’ financial benefit:

  1. Increased employment:Auditing, segregating and managing assets is much more labour intensive than simply moving them to waste, In protecting the material, ie the value of assets the cost of additional labour can be recovered and additional value still achieved.   When saving /separating material (flooring or otherwise) for recovery, the work involved in that process is immediately increased, thus creating employment.
  2. Multi-skilled roles:Repair, refurbishment and reuse of assets creates the needs for a more skilled workforce compared to simply ‘waste carrying’.  At our carpet refurbishment centre where we sort, separate re-clean and re-grade commercial carpet tiles we have full-time manual staff who are uniquely skilled in this area.  By extending the life of a material that otherwise would be wasted, the office owner is helping create employment in the area of repair/ refurbishment.
  3. Social Value:Donating needed resources to those who are in need and have limited budget is a great way of delivering social value. At Greenstream as a CIC, a community interest company we have the ‘benefit’ of the community in our very DNA. We donate thousands of metres of carpet tiles to low-income social housing tenants, community groups, primary schools and local start-ups giving individuals and the local community a big helping hand in the financially-punitive area that is carpet/ flooring and our clients an opportunity to directly support their corporate responsibility targets.
  4. Poverty Alleviation:We have a huge problem of carpet poverty in the UK with those who have the most need being the least likely to be able to afford carpet while the majority of hard-wearing commercially produced carpet is simply wasted (burnt or buried) after one use.  Responsible businesses by using our services not only deliver better environmental options for themselves but also directly help those most vulnerable in our society.
  1. Attracting a supportive workforce:A highly engaged workforce does not like to see an employer wasting money, assets or resources. Staff and clients can benefit from a greater sense of satisfaction if the services they engage with has a stronger social  and environmental outcomes than ‘the norm’.  We know our service is viewed as an ‘asset’ to help engage staff in what can be sometimes disruptive periods of change.

The importance of social value

These areas alone can demonstrate to any organisation that, as they engage with the concept of the asset valuing/ circular office, they will be supporting products and services that deliver much wider social ,environmental  and economic value. 

As businesses move towards more sustainable practices, a  circular office environment is a good place to start.  

Cutting To   The Chase…

Approximately 15 million square metres of commercial carpet tiles is laid new in the UK every year. 80 percent of this (12 million square metres) is replacing previous commercial carpet tiles.  Last years’ figures by the industry association, Carpet Recycling UK, revealed that 100,000 square metres was recovered/ retained for further second-life use. Therefore 99 percent of all commercial carpet tiles which are designed for heavy use and involve large amounts of carbon in their production and distribution, are used once and are then ‘dumped’.  On the other hand this an example of who we help…

 I’m ringing you today because I hear you help with carpet. I moved into my one bed flat yesterday and I have a chair, a bed and a fridge’  I’ve been homeless for four years so I’m really grateful for the flat so I can’t complain but the floor is bare cement and with no curtains either  it’s really hard, can you help me?’ 

Telephone Caller to Greenstream 6/6/2019 (typical of calls made daily to Greenstream)

As responsible businesses we know we have to look at the use of resources more efficiently, one easy way to do this is by simply looking down at our feet in the offices we work in every day and asking the question about where did this material come from who is responsible for it and who are working to replace this and what happens to all this flooring afterwards?


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