Already in the stage of design choices are made on issues like healthy and safe materials, take back, disassembly and recycling. However, to make this all work it is important that products are brought back to the organization/company responsible for disassembling and recycling at the end of the life cycle and that’s where the challenge begins.
Although the choice for C2C certified product always is a well-considered one with a strong intention to make sure the used goods are being recycled after use, in practice, we are facing some problems. Especially with flooring solutions it is difficult to keep track on them when companies decide to move to a different location, change house styles, are being sold or, which sadly enough still happens, go bankrupt.
In many of these cases the carpet tiles or other modular flooring products mysteriously “disappear” without a trace, making it impossible to get the used materials in endless cycles. We found a solution in putting tracking chips in our products but we ran into some privacy issues, which is understandable of course, so other solutions are needed.
The approach to no longer let customers pay for the product but just for the use, comfort, installation and replacement seems to be the most effective one to assure them going back to the appropriated facility for disassembly and recycling at the end of life. In other words. Lease your floor!
In our attempt to realize this circular strategy of ‘The Floor as a Service” we were facing some interesting mindset issues. Where everyone feels completely at ease in leasing a car, the fact you cannot spend your budget on the carpet tiles in your building anymore is a whole different story. Not only how to communicate this but also to who, appeared to be a complicated journey. Involved departments with all their own responsibility need different messages and explanations but mainly: we still like to buy things.
Where you can hear in the media that people are less interested in possession and more in the use of things, in real life we do not like to give up our ownership very easily. A change from our side is needed as well. Our sales organizations have to step away from trying to “sell” the financial benefits and focus more on aspects as hassle free, flexibility and of course social responsibility. With experience in different markets as well as with different partners we can start up interesting discussions in how to change the mindset from owning to using. In our interactive session “Material as a Service” we will not only share our insights but also seek corporation and input to help the world become more circular and sustainable.