Why does carpet have an impact? Even though we purchase carpet that is protected from mold, mildew, bacteria and other microorganisms, over time, the carpet becomes worn, dirty or damaged and requires replacing. Instead of rolls of carpet, we use carpet squares. This way, we can easily replace the specific square instead of requiring an entire new roll of carpet to be installed. This helps cut back on unnecessary material waste and allows for carpet tiles to be recycled.
We partner with carpet suppliers whose business practices align with our zero waste goals, such as Interface and Patcraft. As we remove old carpet tiles, we often save, bundle and return the used squares to the carpet manufacturers to be recycled into new carpet tiles. In fact, last month, more than 60,000 pounds of carpet tiles were returned from our restaurants for recycling and new production. These carpet squares may even eventually make their way back to our restaurants to be recycled again one day.
By partnering with suppliers who recycle carpet as part of their standard business processes, we can rest assured knowing that all the fibers, fabrics and oils used to make the carpet are created and assembled with the end goal of recycling in mind. This way, the carpet we source does not contain raw materials that unnecessarily have to go to landfills. In 2009, we updated many of our restaurants with this type of carpet. As we have built new restaurants and remodeled, we’re also using carpet squares made from recycled materials.
Of course, our carpet choice and restaurant construction elements are just part of our larger sustainability goals. We design new restaurants using the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard. Part of this standard involves using energy management systems, strict water conservation standards and, of course, using recycled materials in construction. We are constantly trying to reduce our physical footprint on the environment, and part of this effort is examining every detail of our operations from roof to carpet tile.
For more information on Darden’s green buildings initiatives, visit the Darden Sustainability website. You can also take a closer look at our carpet tiles in this video.