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Tarkett aims to drive construction industry to zero waste

'The future is fungi' according to Tarkett

It's estimated that construction and demolition account for one-third of the world's overall waste. As growing landfills continue to elevate carbon emissions and pollute our air, soil and water, it's imperative that leaders in the built environment innovate sustainable solutions for managing construction waste.

Tarkett has formed a partnership with Mycocycle—a Chicago-based, nature-inspired biotech startup that leverages the root structure of mushrooms to break down construction waste. Through Mycocycle's research and development, mycelia (fungal root structures) have been shown to consume and eliminate toxins from construction waste, producing a natural byproduct that makes an ideal raw material for the built environment and reduces our reliance on virgin raw materials.

"This partnership is rooted in a shared investment in the exponential power of collaboration and innovation," said Eric Daliere, CEO of Tarkett North America. "Together, we share a commitment to creating a circular economy that protects our natural resources, promotes climate health and sustains every living thing."

Through this exclusive partnership, Tarkett will work collaboratively with Mycocycle by investing in ongoing research and development. By joining forces, the companies will leverage Tarkett's well-established ReStart take-back and recycling program as they operationalise alternative waste handling processes that return old flooring to a circular ecosystem. The partners will further test the effects of mycelium on all types of flooring collected through ReStart and explore the resulting byproduct as a central ingredient in new flooring products.

"Because of its legacy and reputation for transparency, its respect for the importance of third-party verification, and its willingness to invest in innovation, it was clear to me that Tarkett walks the talk. That was important to me," Mycocyle Founder Joanne Rodriguez said. "My passion for this work—to remediate waste using Mother Nature's tools—met its match in Tarkett and its people. They are all serious about sustainability and saving our planet."

Last year in North America alone, Tarkett successfully diverted an estimated 1.5 million pounds (690 t) of post-use flooring to recycling, both in house and with external recycling partners. Through its partnership with Mycocycle and other innovative strategies, the company is on track to at least double that number in 2024.

The partnership between Tarkett and Mycocycle provides a new path to a circular economy by reducing waste, preserving virgin resources, and transforming old flooring into new biobased material.

"From this moment forward, we'll never aim for anything less than zero waste," said Roxane Spears, vice president of sustainability for Tarkett North America. "Collaborating with like-minded people working toward the same goal is the only way our world is going to solve global sustainability issues. This revolutionary partnership could change the game for commercial flooring waste handling for the entire industry, not to mention the planet. This is the future. The future is fungi."

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