Flooring project to help tenants and the planet could reduce landfill waste by 22.5 tonnes a year

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 22 December 2019

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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An innovative new flooring project has been launched by a leading Scottish housing association. Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, it has been designed to improve the lives of hard-pressed tenants while at the same time helping the environment.

Delivered by Dalkeith-based Melville Housing Association, the project sees reconditioned carpet tiles saved from landfill, and instead offered at no cost to tenants who are struggling to find the money to provide floor coverings for their homes.

One tenant who has already benefited as part of the pilot programme is Andrew Hiddleston, who lives in a Melville house in Poltonhall. ‘I got some carpet tiles for my living room and I’m delighted with how they look. I’m so pleased with them that I’m now hoping to get my hall done as well.

‘I think the whole project is a brilliant idea and I’m proud to have been part of it. Carpets aren’t cheap and there are a lot of tenants like me who would struggle to find the money for even basic flooring. I’m really grateful to Melville and everyone else who helped make it happen.’

Tiles from refurbs

Inspired by a meeting of Melville tenant representatives, the project is supported by Zero Waste Scotland, environmental consultancy Beyond Green and Novus Property Solutions.

If rolled out across Scotland, an estimated 22.5 tonnes of waste could be diverted from landfill every year with carbon savings of 7tCO2e (seven tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent) – equivalent to 43 car journeys between Aberdeen and London.

The carpet tiles given to tenants are sourced from office blocks which are undergoing refurbishment work.

Only good-quality new and used tiles are provided, with the additional benefit that they are much easier to lay than traditional carpet, even by a novice. Because they are relatively small they are also easy to lift and transport.

Improving homes

‘This project has been driven by two factors’, explains Melville’s chief operating officer and project-lead, Morag MacDonald. ‘As an organisation we are actively reviewing how we can be more sustainable in our practices, and how in doing so we can benefit the communities we serve. This project is stopping good-quality usable flooring going to landfill and at the same time is helping tenants make their homes warmer and more comfortable.

‘We’re extremely grateful to our partner organisations for the support they have given to this project and we hope to deliver, in partnership with others in the sector, a successful project that marries up the tonnes of unwanted carpet tiles across Scotland with the hundreds of households in need of good quality, affordable flooring.’

Zero Waste Scotland

The Circular Economy team at Zero Waste Scotland, which is supported by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund, engaged with contractors to help source carpet tiles.

For Melville, this secured a supply of suitable flooring to pass on to tenants, while diverting valuable materials away from landfill.

‘Melville Housing Association has proved that in the face of a climate crisis, we all have the power to reduce waste and emissions through circular thinking. The circular economy is not only about zero waste, it also delivers social benefits to the community. Melville’s project provides real value to their customers while helping to minimise damage to the environment at the same time. Housing associations are perfectly poised to introduce circular models in a range of services and our Circular Economy team is on hand to help.’

LOUISE MCGREGOR
Head of Circular Economy at Zero Waste Scotland

The sustainable project has resonated with tenants with over 75% of those surveyed saying they would be interested in reusing carpet ties to floor their homes.

Click here to read our article about Brighton’s Waste House, made almost entirely from discarded materials.

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