The Australian Resilient Flooring Association (ARFA) has been awarded $1 million by the Commonwealth Government through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (NPSIF) to develop a recycling scheme for resilient flooring.
Having already invested $15.5 million in 21 projects, the NPSIF aims to increase the number of industry-led product stewardship schemes in Australia and increase the recycling rates of existing schemes.
ARFA’s one-year ResiLoop project is a key component of their sustainability strategy. It involves the design, development, and trial of a potential product stewardship scheme for resilient flooring products, which are used in residential and commercial construction. Ultimately, it is hoped to roll-out a commercially viable scheme nationally for resilient floor coverings.
Every year, Australia sells around 22.3 million sqm or 95,000 tonnes of these products, including 10 million sqm supplied by ARFA members. These products include vinyl planks made to mimic wood flooring and vinyl sheets used in medical settings.
Due to be completed by March 31st 2023, the project comprises three stages. The first stage will focus on identifying, developing, and trialing technical solutions to reuse and recycle resilient flooring. Secondly, the reverse logistics process will be created to capture material prior to reprocessing. Finally, the creation of a supply chain model and business case will pave the way for a plan to roll-out a national scheme for the Australian resilient flooring sector.
ARFA says their product stewardship scheme aims to deliver both wider community benefit and specific value across the industry by creating new collaboration between competitors, the entire supply chain and wider industry. Economically, it will stimulate innovation and job opportunities, while reducing reliance on fossil-fuel resources by using post-consumer material.
ARFA President, Dan Lovell comments: “As the peak association, we are excited to be actively building an industry-led stewardship solution. End of life solutions through product stewardship that engage stakeholders across supply chains, installation businesses and waste management, will not only address the landfill impact but create a circularity mindset that will be welcomed across the marketplace. This funding opportunity provides ARFA with the impetus to establish a national recycling scheme for resilient flooring products and drive future innovation, jobs, and growth for our industry.”