University of Hertfordshire students shared a £1,000 top prize for their innovative ideas to create a modular compost bin and a roof tile from waste vinyl flooring in the first-ever Recofloor Design Competition.
The competition was organised by the UK’s national vinyl flooring recycling scheme, founded in 2009 by flooring manufacturers Polyflor and Altro, to increase market options for post-consumer vinyl flooring.
Currently the main end-applications for uplifted flooring are traffic management products, such as cones, due to contamination levels of screed and scrim on the back of this material, whilst clean off-cuts are recycled back into new vinyl flooring.
The product design undergraduates – Matthew Lodge, James Lyttle, Shivani Majithia, Stephen Rothwell, Sufyan Akram and Anchal Goel – received their cheque from England rugby legend and former British Lions captain Bill Beaumont who was guest host at the annual Recofloor Awards event in March. Two other team members, Cen Gulcen and Waye Shyang were unable to attend.
Accompanying them at the Leicester Tigers Rugby Club event were University of Hertfordshire project coordinators, Dr George Haritos and Dr Iman Mansouri who will work with Recofloor’s founders, Polyflor and Altro, on further research and project development.
Dr Haritos said: “Making products from waste vinyl flooring will increase the material’s life from around 30 years to more than 100 years, offering sustainable new outlets that preserve valuable resources. We’re currently investigating the feasibility of batch production of the compost bin to be sold on the open market.”
For Altro’s Manufacturing and Technical Director John Patsavellas taking the recycling capability ‘beyond traffic cones’ was a key aim of the competition. He said: “We don’t use student talent enough in manufacturing and we are delighted that the two teams rose to the challenge with these excellent designs.
“As Recofloor continues to expand and divert even more waste vinyl flooring from landfill, exciting opportunities for reusing this material in new product applications can only grow too.”
Recofloor’s fourth Annual Awards event honoured the achievements of flooring contractors, distributors and fitters in collecting more than 500 tonnes for recycling in 2014. Since its inception, a total of 2,256 tonnes of vinyl flooring waste has been diverted from landfill through Recofloor and recycled back into new products, including flooring.
Benefits for Recofloor’s 650-plus collectors across the UK include a sustainable option for end-of-life flooring, enhanced green credentials and up to 75% savings in disposal costs.