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Flooring firm's deal with social enterprise will cut carpet waste

Global flooring company Interface, which operates a manufacturing plant in Craigavon, is to support employment for people with disabilities as it aims to recycle thousands of used carpet tiles.

It has launched a partnership with a Belfast-based social enterprise through 'reentry', which aims to create further value from 14,000 sqm of used carpet tiles, which are currently being sent to landfill as waste.

Instead, Interface will now collect the tiles from customers across the island and deliver them to USEL's depot in Belfast, where they will be sorted by grade.

Depending on their condition, the tiles will be re-sold to local community groups or social housing, repurposed as a riding surface for use in equestrian centres or used for energy recovery at a waste to energy facility.

USEL, which employs, trains or supports 1,200 people every year in Northern Ireland with disabilities and health conditions, said it will use the income from the scheme to help support a number of new jobs.

Grace Bruton, of Interface, who is leading the initiative, said the company had worked to eliminate any negative impact on the environment.

"Reentry turns what was previously regarded as 'rubbish' into something which benefits the environment and local community.

"With over 50 years' experience in delivering environmental and social projects, USEL is the perfect partner, and our ambition is to expand the service."

The service has already been used by Marks & Spencer, Apple and Mastercard to help reach sustainability targets.

Natalie Donnelly, USEL's operations manager, said: "Reentry is our first project in the carpet tile market and we're delighted to partner with a global firm such at Interface, which is renowned for its sustainable approach to manufacturing."

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