Recycling at Work in Georgia: Mohawk Industries

Here at Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, a question we often receive is “What happens to materials after they are recycled?” There are a myriad of answers to that question, so in order to best demonstrate the power of one particular recycling segment: plastics – we’d like to shine the spotlight on one of our incredible manufacturing partners, Mohawk Industries.

everstrand_plastic_bottle_story - MohawkMohawk Industries is the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk’s extensive product line includes carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone and vinyl flooring. Boasting operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, and Russia, you may be surprised to learn that Mohawk’s corporate headquarters are closer to home in Calhoun, Georgia. The company’s products can be found in specialty flooring retail stores, as well as in major retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Kohls. With a presence in large cities and small towns all across the country – and all around the globe – Mohawk is dedicated to “making the world a more beautiful place”

One of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful’s favorite ways that Mohawk Industries makes the world a more beautiful place is through the use of recycled PET plastic bottles that our organization and partners recover and then ship to Mohawk for their use in the manufacture of flooring. As a matter of fact – recycled products like discarded plastic bottles and old tires – are used in the creation of more than 500 Mohawk products. In addition to housing its corporate headquarters in Georgia, Mohawk also makes the Peach State home to the world’s largest integrated plastic bottle recycling facility in Summerville. The number of bottles that this facility recycles annually could be stacked end-to-end to form about 6,926 Empire State Buildings! The bottles that Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful ships to Mohawk are most commonly used in the manufacture of Mohawk EverStrand carpet – made from up to 100% post-consumer material. Bottles are converted to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) carpet fiber following a series of steps that include sorting the plastic bottles, chopping up the plastic into little chips, vigorously cleaning the chips and then melting them into polyester resin. The fibers are cut and shipped to Mohawk’s manufacturing sites all over the world AND right here in Georgia.

By recycling your plastic bottles, you play a very important role in supporting manufacturing in Georgia! Be sure to look for bottles that have a “1” or “PET” symbol on the bottom. And if you happen to be in the market for new carpet, consider purchasing eco-friendly EverStrand carpet from Mohawk Industries.

Some Important Facts about Plastics from the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total municipal solid waste.
  • In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, about 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups.
  • Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling.