NSF 140 Continues Carpet Industry Commitment to Sustainability

NSF 140 Continues Carpet Industry Commitment to Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental efforts continue to grow in importance for many industries. Creating products that are green or sustainable is an ongoing challenge for businesses in these industries. The carpet industry is one such industry that is taking the lead with standards on sustainable platforms. This past summer, stakeholders from the carpet industry, associated industries, and other fields gathered to update NSF/ANSI 140 Sustainability Assessment for Carpet (NSF 140).

The NSF/ANSI 140 Sustainability Assessment for Carpet focuses on aiding material suppliers, converters, manufacturers, and end-users through design and product innovation, improved customer satisfaction, ecological restoration, and many other benefits. The carpet industry has made significant progress in reducing the environmental footprint of carpet, including landfill diversion, carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption, waste generation, water usage, and hazardous air pollutants in the production of carpet.

Per NSF, the purpose of the Sustainability Assessment for Carpet is to establish consistent requirements for sustainable carpet products. These requirements are intended to form the basis of conformity assessment programs, such as third-party certification.

Developed as a consensus process with procedures from ASTM International, one of the largest standards development organizations in the world that enhances performance and safety of products, NSF 140 is the premiere standard for highlighting sustainability in carpet products.

“The update to NSF/ANSI 140 reflects changes in the industry and technology that maintains this standard as the best for certifying sustainable products,” CRI President Joe Yarbrough said.

NSF 140 recognizes sustainable carpet on three performance levels — silver, gold, and platinum — using a rating system for performance and quantifiable metrics in public health and environment, energy, recycled materials, and reclamation management.

According to NSF, the standard provides a market-based definition for a path to sustainable carpet, to establish performance requirements for public health and environment, and to address the triple bottom line, economic-environmental-social, throughout the supply chain.

As mentioned earlier, NSF 140 is developed under a consensus process with input from various industries to use a holistic perspective in drafting the standard. The NSF/ANSI 140 Joint Committee is the body responsible for developing and overseeing the standard, so it maintains its status as the best standard for promoting sustainable carpet products.

“The NSF/ANSI 140 Joint Committee is a group of dedicated professionals with a high level of expertise as evidenced by the quality of the updated standard,” CRI Director of Technical Services Richard Turner commented.

The standard was first released in 2005 and quickly utilized as the go-to standard on sustainability. Due to the past success, NSF 140 is recognized as one of the best standards for sustainability in any industry. The General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that handles procurement for the US government, requires all products meet gold certification under NSF 140. Similarly, the EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program requires products be certified NSF 140 Gold and by the Green Label Plus program, another ANSI-certified program from CRI. NSF 140 certification also contributes points under the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED v4.1 program.

Russ Delozier, director of sustainability for Engineered Floors, was a representative for the carpet industry on the NSF/ANSI 140 Joint Committee. He emphasized the expertise from the manufacturing side along with the academic community, procurement professionals, and others. He also highlighted the importance NSF 140 serves for many stakeholders and sustainability.

“Specifying a project is a complicated process, especially with sustainability, and NSF 140 makes it simpler and easier for manufacturers and consumers with regard to sustainability,” he added.

Troy Virgo, director of sustainability for Shaw Industries and another member of the committee for NSF 140, underscored how important the multi-attribute aspect of the standard was for different stakeholder groups.

“When it was first developed in 2005, this was one of the first multi-attribute, multi-stakeholder standard for sustainability in the built environment,” he stated. “The carpet industry’s willingness to listen to outside stakeholders, embrace change, align with other emerging standards, and push for higher performance has kept the standard’s requirements current and relevant.” 

The all-round, collaborative effort from each stakeholder group cannot be understated in the work to develop this unique standard and how it benefits the environment and sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability continues to be a priority for our industry and we will continue to work to create products that are environmentally friendly along with promoting initiatives that create a brighter, more sustainable future,” Joe Yarbrough said.