Brussels, 24 February 2021 – The CISUFLO project was selected to receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme which is the biggest EU innovation and research funding instrument. CISUFLO stands for CIrcular SUstainable FLOoring and is a joint project of the European Floor Coverings Association (EuFCA) and other participants from the flooring industry such as research institutes, recycling companies and public authorities. In order to minimise the environmental impact of the sector, CISUFLO aims to set up a systemic framework for circular floor coverings, laminate, vinyl and textiles. A budget of 7.7 million Euros will be available for the project’s expected duration of 48 months.
Laminate floor is already a sustainable product. It is made with wood, which is one of the most sustainable and renewable raw materials. The wood used is leftover from sawmills and from maintenance cutting of trees.
The European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) will contribute to the project through EuFCA, of which it is a founding member. President of the EPLF Max von Tippelskirch stated: “Through this project, the laminate sector will tackle the next big challenge which is to become more circular. The project represents approximately 70% of the flooring sector as it has many participants from Benelux and Northern France, which are globally the biggest producer of floorcoverings. The EPLF is looking forward to contributing to the European Union’s transition towards a circular economy with this project by driving innovation and change in the flooring sector."
The project will include 6 pilots focusing on manufacturing, sorting, separation and the recycling of laminate, resilient and carpet floor coverings. Our members BIG and UNILIN will be involved in one of the pilots which will focus on laminate recycling. Currently laminate is not recycled but recovered as energy. The aim of the pilot will be to understand how the manufacturing process of laminate needs to change in order to incorporate more recycled materials (at least 80 % by 2035) and improve the recyclability of laminate (at least 90 %). Existing defibring technology will be tested on a large industrial scale to assess the extent to which recycled materials can be re-used for the production of laminate or HDF and MDF boards for the construction sector.
Assuming that the project reaches 30 % of the market, CISUFLO will help to shift a turnover of approximately 5 billion Euros or 12.000 jobs towards the circular economy sector and create an additional 2.500 jobs in the area of collection and recycling. The potential impact on the wood sector will be even bigger, with an estimated extra turnover of 22 billion Euros and shift of 100.000 jobs towards the circular sector. Throughout the project, the share of circular floor coverings within the market has the potential to grow quickly and could reach up to 15 % by 2024, up to 30 % by 2029 and up to 80 % by 2035.