Design for circularity with Niaga®

Giving carpets a new life, again and again

Time for us to discard the throwaway culture

Did you know that over 1.6 million tons of used carpets end up in landfills or incinerators each year in Europe alone? You can imagine the catastrophic impact on our environment and resources if bulky waste like this keeps piling up every year around the world.

Waste is largely a result of the way products are designed. For many decades, industrial production has grown to a complex design level where products are composed of a growing number of components that are often put together in an irreversible way. This renders the materials useless and becoming waste at the end of a product’s life cycle.

Making it simple, clean and reversible

That’s what DSM’s Niaga® design philosophy and technology is all about - designing for circularity to keep our world healthy and bountiful, without compromising the product's performance.

By changing the design mindset, bulky products like carpets, mattresses and even furniture panels do not have to end up in the ‘product graveyard’ and can be recycled and reborn as new, again and again.

Keep it simple
Use the fewest number of materials possible.

Clean materials only
Only use materials that have been tested for their impact on our health and the environment.

Use reversible connections
Only connect different materials in ways that allow them to be disconnected after use.

An environmental win-win

At DSM we’ve aligned our strategy specifically with five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015. In the case of Niaga Technology that means:

Science and Innovation

Traditionally, a carpet’s bottom layer is made of a series of layers glued together for eternity. This makes recycling near-to-impossible or too challenging on resources.

With DSM's Niaga® technology, carpets can now be produced with only one or two materials. The specially engineered and solvent-free Niaga® adhesive is reversible and can be decoupled on demand. This allows carpets to be easily recycled into pure materials for use again at the end of its life. Importantly, it is free of toxic chemicals and doesn’t require latex which is heavy, takes lots of water and energy to cross-link (join with other materials), and makes the carpet prone to stains and burning.

Although it started out as a novel idea for manufacturing carpet and preventing immense landfill waste, Niaga® technology and its applications have been evolving fast. Royal Auping is the first non-carpet company to use it in the development of the world’s first fully circular bed mattress. Other product redesigns like furniture panels are also available as healthy and recyclable alternatives to MDF particleboard, fiberboard, and foam board panels. 

The future

Bringing materials back to life

Niaga® technology is available for a multitude of products in addition to carpet. Products that carry a Niaga® tag are guaranteed to have been designed based on the principles of simplicity, healthy materials, and reversible connections. So far, we’ve redesigned carpet, mattresses, and furniture panels. More redesigns are underway. Keeping your stuff out of the trash was never this easy!

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