Toward Greater Circularity

A shared spirit connects us as we align our thinking on how Milliken products can advance more positive society-wide benefits, including designing out waste and pollution while increasing safety and well‑being.

Convening on End of Life Solutions

We have begun efforts to convene scientists and thought leaders to make progress toward our 2025 Product Goals, including solving the plastics end-of-life challenge. Together, we accomplished several exciting milestones in 2019:

  • Committed to sponsor National Geographic’s 2020 Circular Economy Forum. Learn more here. You can also learn more about Milliken’s efforts with National Geographic to uncover sustainability solutions here
  • Joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste

    "Milliken and its partners in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste are enabling meaningful, lasting solutions that will protect our ocean and environment while also elevating the quality of life in communities that struggle most with unmanaged plastic waste today."

    Jacob Duer, CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste
  • Assembled the first South Carolina Department of Commerce Regional Recycling Matchmaker to bring together manufacturers and recyclers from across South Carolina to explore ways to continue recycling trends. Learn more here

Enabling Plastics Circularity

Focused on disrupting the mindset of "take-make-dispose" while embracing the possibility of plastics circularity, we seek the innovations and partnerships necessary to advance circularity. As materials science experts, we continue work on a plastic additives portfolio that increases the efficiency of recycling plastic, such as our efforts with PureCycle.

"Helping increase the circularity of plastics by keeping raw materials in use can significantly reduce the negative impact mismanagement of plastics is having on our environment, says Scott Trenor, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Milliken. United by a shared passion for solutions that make a positive impact on the world, Scott and his long-time friend, John Layman, the initial inventor of PureCycle technology, collaborated to improve the recycling process for polypropylene plastics.

Today, in the U.S., about 29% of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is commonly used to make plastic bottles and other consumer goods, is recycled. By contrast, less than 10% of polypropylene plastic is currently recycled. Recycling a polypropylene container into another container uses roughly 90% less energy, 50% less water, and reduces CO2 emissions by 75% compared to using virgin polypropylene. PureCycle is the first company to focus solely on recycling and reintegrating polypropylene upstream to highly sensitive consumer product applications, which are used in food and beverage and consumer goods packaging.

PureCycle’s process enables the recycled material to become truly circular and be reused in its original application, as opposed to having to be downcycled into lower-value products, and Milliken’s additives will play a critical role. "The PureCycle recycling process pulls everything out and then Milliken's food-safe additives are going to be needed for brand owners to have the exact same performance and aesthetics that they are used to with virgin polymers," said Allen Jacoby, Sr. Vice President for Milliken’s Plastic Additives business. Find out more from Allen here.

In early 2019, Milliken announced it had partnered with PureCycle Technologies, as it moved forward in its plans to open its first plant, in Ohio, U.S., to restore used polypropylene (PP) plastic to 'virgin-like' quality. The first PureCycle plant is expected to purify and recycle 119-million pounds of polypropylene to produce 105-million pounds each year. PureCycle Technologies recently announced ambitious plans to build 25 plants over the next 15 years—producing nearly four billion pounds of purified post-consumer polypropylene per year and making a significant contribution to solving a global plastics problem.

Learn more about Milliken’s innovations in recycling here.

Increasing Transparency

We believe third-party verification is critical for transparency with sustainable products and practices. Here, we highlight a few of our sustainability product certifications:

Declare® and Red List Imperative

Milliken has demonstrated a commitment to transparency by disclosing the ingredients of our floor coverings through Declare®, a voluntary labeling program and database operated by the International Living Future Institute™. Our products comply with the Red List Imperative of the Living Building Challenge™. Learn more here.

Oeko-Tex® Standard 100

Certain Milliken and Polartec products are certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances, ensuring high product safety. Verifiable certificate numbers are listed with the specific products. Learn more about the specific products here.

Bluesign®

The majority of Polartec products are BlueSign® Certified. BlueSign® monitors the complex journey of materials from factory to final product, and their team includes experts in chemistry and textile production. Learn more on Polartec standards here.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver

All Milliken carpet tiles in the Americas, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand is now Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Silver. We have chosen to make a strong commitment to Cradle to Cradle certification because of its well‑known status as a recognized and trusted standard across the globe. Learn more here.

You may notice Cradle to Cradle certification (often referred to as C2C or C2C Certified) includes some similarities to other standards, as well as some obvious differences. Learn more about the differences of C2C, including the five categories reviewed (material health, material reutilization, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness) here.

APR Critical Guidance Recognition Validates Compatible with Plastic Packaging Recycling

Our Millad® NX® 8000 clarifying agent for polypropylene (PP) received Critical Guidance Recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). This recognition for innovative materials validates that the Millad® NX® 8000 clarifier is compatible with plastic packaging recycling. When received, the Millad® NX® 8000 additive was the only PP clarifying agent to receive Critical Guidance Recognition from APR, a national trade organization whose efforts are aimed at identifying and eliminating barriers to successful commercial recycling.

Additional Flooring Sustainability Certifications

Learn more about additional sustainability certifications of our global flooring products here.

Expanding our Life Cycle Analysis

Our 2025 Sustainability Product Goals include a commitment to analyze all new products applying Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) principles. For Milliken, acting with integrity means employing a holistic perspective assessing the entire life of our products. All divisions are working on a framework for new products as we seek more information about the environmental impacts of the raw materials we select, look to better understand the impacts of our products, and design and redesign for positive impacts with end-of-life concerns. Milliken Flooring began using LCAs in 2002 and has already made significant progress with collecting, measuring, reporting, disclosing, verifying, and certifying the component ingredients that go into our products. Flooring LCAs measure the carbon impact of our products, total embodied energy, as well as their contribution to smog, acidification, and eutrophication to help identify areas where we can improve the environmental impacts of our products.

Milliken Flooring has conducted LCAs for nearly all flooring products. In fact, Milliken Flooring continues to improve and started the process of doubling its Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs®). They are asking suppliers for more transparency in order to increase the accuracy of our LCA data beyond the generic information that models previously provided. We realize the need to understand the impact of embodied carbon in our flooring products, particularly in the building environment. In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we continually seek to improve data accuracy by engaging our value chain in the process. By engaging our value chain, we are able to educate them in our efforts to reduce the carbon impacts of our products and push for more transparency of ingredients.

Environmental Product Declarations

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®) is a transparent, objective report that communicates product performance, including what a product is made of and how it impacts the environment across its entire life cycle. A verified EPD® can help a project earn credits for LEED v4 and other green building rating systems. EPDs® communicate the results of our LCAs in a 12-15 page summary. EPDs® highlight the stages across our products’ value chains that have the largest environmental impact. Learn more here.

Design for the Environment (DfE) Framework

To manage the life cycle impacts of constructing and producing Milliken flooring, we utilize our Design for the Environment (DfE) framework, which ensures responsible material selection and production processes. We use LCAs and ingredient screening databases to determine both positive and negative outcomes of using new products and ingredients. Our LCA data shows us that between 75% and 95% of our products’ environmental impacts result from the sourcing and manufacturing of raw materials. When possible, we develop relationships with suppliers providing locally sourced raw materials or materials with positive environmental attributes, such as bio-based ingredients or those containing high percentages of recycled content.

Milliken’s DfE framework guides product design and application evaluation. We have found the single most environmentally impactful action we can take is to specify correct flooring solutions for their ideal application. Simply by recommending the appropriate flooring and installation requirements, we can prevent 75% to 95% of future environmental impact—reducing waste and the need to replace floor covering with new products.

Improving Patient Lives

In 2019, we formalized our commitment to the healthcare industry by creating a new Healthcare division. We hope to assist the global healthcare industry in confronting the challenge of treating a population that is aging and experiencing an increase in disease. We recently expanded our portfolio of advanced wound care dressings and cohesive bandages with our acquisition of Andover Healthcare. At Milliken Healthcare, through the development of advanced wound, skin, and burn care products, we aim to enhance patient lives, while increasing efficiency and reducing waste. Learn more about our healthcare solutions here.

Progress Toward 2025 Product Goals

Creating circular economies depends on internal assessments and industry-wide collaborations


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Analyze new products launched using Life Cycle Analysis principles

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  • 2018 Baseline: 22% new products analyzed
  • 2019: 22% new products analyzed
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Convene scientists and thought leaders to advance the goal of solving the plastics end-of-life challenge

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  • Scientists
  • Policy makers
  • Brand owners
  • Customers
  • Academics
  • Nonprofits
  • Business leaders
  • Committed to sponsor National Geographic 2020 Circular Economy Forum
  • Joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
  • Assembled the first South Carolina Department of Commerce Regional Recycling Matchmaker

Review our GRI Index here.

Product Highlights at a Glance

100%

recycled
content

enabled in plastics using Deltamax performance modifiers

Learn more here.

1.5

billion
plastic bottles

diverted from landfills into recycled Polartec fabrics

Learn more here.

5-8%

energy
savings

enabled by Hyperform HPN during injection molding of plastic products

Learn more about the UL Environment & Sustainability Certification of energy savings here.

50%

longer
life expectancy

provided by our cushion-backed carpet

Learn more here.

21K+

people
trained globally

on flame resistant and Arc-rated fabric

Learn more at our flame resistant resource center.

200+

presentations

on WELL Building Standard

Learn more about Milliken Flooring’s Continuing Education course offerings here.

Fabrics certified UL Greenguard Gold


Milliken's eco-elegant fabric collection, Breathe by Milliken™ is sustainability designed using natural or recycled fibers and a remarkable planet-based water repellent.

Learn more about Breathe by Milliken here.

New agricultural lab in Brazil


With the opening of the Milliken Agricultural Lab in Sao Paulo, Brazil, we took one more step in our journey to help the agricultural industry develop sustainable solutions by applying advanced research to localized application and performance testing for seed coatings, fertilizers, and crop protection.

Learn more about Milliken’s new Agricultural Lab here.

Contributing to green and wellness standards with LEED v4


Our Flooring products contribute to LEED v4, a standard driving reductions in GHG emissions and putting a stronger emphasis on human health and well‑being.

Learn more here.

Workplace of the future


Milliken products contribute to a workplace of the future, one focused on improved well‑being.

Learn more here.

Procter & Gamble Supplier Excellence Award


P&G relies upon a diverse group of more than 50,000 suppliers to provide leading products. Milliken was one of approximately 30 companies noted for sustained business contributions in 2018.

Learn more here.

Improving air quality


Milliken Flooring certifies annually for CRI Green Label Plus or SCS Global FloorScore to certify compliance with stringent indoor air quality emission standards.

Learn more here.