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Sustainability > Environmental Footprint > Waste



When Interface® first began our Mission Zero® journey, we started by focusing on waste, adopting aggressive zero waste goals (FRONT #1). To drive progress toward these goals, we created programs that defined, measured and communicated our efforts.

At Interface, we have a broad definition for waste: any cost that does not produce value to customers. This includes everything from scrap materials and defective product to misdirected shipments or incorrect invoices. As our waste reduction efforts evolved, we extended our definition of waste to consider our entire supply chain. Waste reduction has been a powerful motivator at the factory level – many of our early successes came from enterprising employees.


Waste Elimination

We’ve gone beyond the walls of the factory to examine all aspects of our business for opportunities to reduce and eliminate waste, including product design, packaging and transportation.

Our waste reduction efforts have resulted in a 91% decrease in total waste to landfills from our carpet factories since 1996.


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Getting Employees Involved – QUEST Program

Quality Utilizing Employee Suggestions and Teamwork (QUEST) began in 1995 as a program to drive waste reduction efforts at our factories. It’s an employee-led system to define and eliminate waste and communicate our accomplishments, recognizing efforts and measuring progress to let employees know that their contributions matter. Using cross-functional teams of employees with shared goals allows for different perspectives and ideas to surface. Inviting new thinking and allowing permission to fail creates an abundance of positive risk takers.

A great example of a QUEST program success is the “portable creel” system invented by Billy Ingram in our West Point, Georgia factory. The innovative system has taken a century old technique for tufting and completely changed how yarn was fed into our process, sending it through moveable creels instead of fixed stationary beams. This allows for more optimal yarn usage and significantly less waste. It is estimated that the portable creels reduce scrap yarn up to 54%.


Sample Reduction Programs

Product samples are a necessary reality in the carpet business, but we’re finding innovative ways to reduce the need for physical samples and, therefore, reduce waste. Our global businesses are shifting from physical samples, leveraging Simulated Sample Technology (SIMS) to create virtual pictures of room designs and produce printed, highly realistic, product images.

Because of the nature of our business, we are not fully digital yet. We still produce physical samples – samples that are returned, and samples that are never used. In order to keep samples out of the landfill, we are finding innovative ways to reuse and recycle them. The ZeroLandfill™ program is one innovative solution to this problem where we donate old carpet samples to artists and art educators for projects and educational materials.