Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Keeping Clean at ISSA 2010

Keeping Clean at ISSA 2010

Keeping Clean at ISSA: A Look at the Industry Behind Keeping Clean

I asked my son, who works as a field instructor at a wilderness program for kids and teens, what the most challenging part of his job was. Was it night after night of sleeping on the ground or living with only the things he can carry on his back? Perhaps dealing with the responsibilities of the often troubled young people he helps guide and care for high in the wilderness of the North Georgia Mountains?

His answer surprised me: he said his biggest challenge was keeping clean. Not clean as in tidy, but clean as in hygienic. As in, staying healthy in a job where hand washing is a luxury and there is no such thing as calling in sick to work. Part of his ongoing training focuses on how to live successfully in a world where literally everything is covered with bacteria, not to mention crawling with various parasites and other assorted things that go bump in the night. He told me some fascinating things about the precautions he takes and how he gets through a dirty world unscathed, using only the products he can carry – that work without leaving a trace on the environment.

For most of us, keeping and staying clean in the workplace is an easier proposition, with modern bathrooms and portable hand sanitizers wherever we need. The work of keeping the world’s offices, schools, retail and other facilitates clean is a huge undertaking represented by a major industry – an industry that came out in force at the 2011 ISSA InterClean show Nov. 10-12 in Orlando, Florida. ISSA, which used to stand for International Sanitary Supply Association but now just goes by the initials, is an organization for the commercial cleaning industry.

CRI attends ISSA because its Seal of Approval program tests and certifies many of the carpet cleaning spot removers, pre-sprays and in-tank solutions, vacuums, and extractors used in the commercial cleaning industry.

I found the event fascinating. Did you know that there are vacuums that look like mini-Zambonis, with an operator that rides on the back? Here’s a video of one from Vacuum manufacturer Windsor, a CRI Seal of Approval participating company. It’s a walk-and-talk interview with Windsor’s Director of Sales Training James Young.

[Subscribers, click on ride-on-vac ISSA YouTube video.]

Here’s a robot vacuum that cleans huge facilities like empty ballrooms or convention centers at night. [Subscribers, click on RoboVac to view YouTube video.]

Vacuums come in many colors…

ISSA 2010: Karcher vacuums

Some have lots of personality…

ISSA 2010: NaceCare Henry vac

And, thanks to CRI’s Seal of Approval Participating companies for showing the SOA logo prominently at their booths.

ISSA 2010: CRI Seal of Approval member


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

From everyone at the Carpet and Rug Institute and the Carpet America Recovery Effort:

Bethany, Frank, Georgina, James, Jason, Jeff,
Jennifer, Jeremy, Joy, Ken, Linda, Louise,
Pat H., Pat J., Ryan, Susan, and Werner

Image courtesy of KeenObservers.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Carpet Industry Supports Annual Conasauga River Clean Up: Werner Braun

Carpet Industry Supports Annual Conasauga River Clean Up

Rolling On a (Carpet) River: Carpet Industry Supports Annual Conasauga River Clean Up

In his October 1 column titled "Let's clean up the Conasauga" for Dalton’s Daily-Citizen Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about the 16th Annual Conasauga Watershed Cleanup that took place Saturday, Oct. 23.

Northwest Georgia’s Conasauga River is a very important resource for the carpet industry. For starters, it is the main source of water supply to the industry in the Dalton area, which is where 80% of U.S. carpet is manufactured. Secondly, it’s where Dalton’s drinking water comes from. From Werner’s article:

“The Conasauga watershed houses 92 different species of freshwater fish and numerous species of freshwater snails, insects, crayfish and more. One of the six most biologically diverse freshwater river systems in the United States, the Conasauga River supports 24 endangered species and a dozen other imperiled species, including the Southern Pigtoe mussel and the Conasauga Logperch, a fish found nowhere else in the world.”

The clean up is sponsored by the Conasauga River Alliance, a nonprofit organization made up of local citizens, conservation groups and representatives from local, state and federal governments. For more information, click on this link

According to its brochure, the alliance has also been actively involved in improving water quality in the Conasauga watershed through:

• Installation of more than 20 miles of vegetative buffers.

• Assistance to landowners with installation of poultry litter stack houses, dead bird composters, heavy-use feeding areas, stream crossings, livestock exclusion grazing systems and alternative watering sources.

• Assistance to homeowners with erosion problems, failing septic systems, vegetation control and stream bank stabilization.

• Education and outreach to private citizens and schools utilizing workshops, field days, in-school programs, river cleanup days and the alliance website (www.conasaugariver.net/).

• Partnering with the scientific community in propagating and reintroducing rare mussels into the river system.

“So gather up forces, carpet community.” Let's clean up the Conasauga!

Thanks, Werner!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

CRI/White House Green Label Plus Certified Oval Office Rug

The CRI/White House Connection - Breathing Easy with the New White House Oval Office Green Label Plus Certified Rug

Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s column in the September 17 Dalton Daily Citizen,  titled, “If Only Carpet Had Ears," talks about the new rug that was recently installed in President Obama’s Oval Office. Besides humorously suggesting that he would like to be able to listen in to the conversations that will occur in the Oval Office, Braun’s article also points out that the new 20’ x 30’ wool rug is certified under CRI’s Green Label Plus (GLP) standard for Indoor Air Quality.

Established in 1992, the GLP program tests carpet, cushions and adhesives to help specifiers and end-users identify products with very low emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

“According to the Air Quality Sciences Resource Center, VOCs are chemicals used to manufacture and prepare many building materials, interior furnishings, textiles, office equipment, cleaners, personal care supplies and pesticide,” the article states.

"'Volatile' is a term meaning that these chemicals evaporate, or get into the air easily at room temperature...

To receive initial certification for Green Label Plus, carpet products undergo a 14-day testing process…that measures emissions for a range of possible chemicals…There are 13 chemicals total. Check out www.carpet-rug.org/commercial-customers and click the ‘Green Building and the Environment’ tab for the full list...

Green Label Plus represents the fourth time the carpet industry has voluntarily enhanced the IAQ standard for its products and is an example of CRI’s leadership in the best practices of environmental responsibility. Green Label Plus ensures that customers are purchasing among the lowest-emitting carpet, adhesive and cushion products on the market.”

Thank you, Werner


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GeoHay Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Darter Fish

GeoHay Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Darter Fish

Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Endangered Species ~ GeoHay erosion-control products come to the aid of rare darter fish

At CRI, we often speak and write about the advantages of carpet. Here’s a new one - cows won’t eat it. It’s true. I saw that theory put to the test this past week at the Petty Farm just outside of Dalton, GA, while involved in a project to help preserve the rare darter fish... using recycled carpet! 

To give you the details: in the fall of 2010, a diverse group of participants which included the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute,  the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE),  the Conasauga River Alliance,  the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a company called GeoHay came together to restore a unique aquatic environment to its natural state. The project took place at Colvard Springs, which is located not too far from the Carpet and Rug Institute headquarters and just outside Dalton, Georgia. This beautiful setting is home to a rather unique fish, the Cold Water Darter. There are only 22 known habitats for this rare species and all are located in the tri-state area of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.

The rare cold water darter fish
The objective of the restoration was to improve the habitat for the darters by pumping mud and silt from the bottom of the spring’s pool. Approximately 40 years ago, the area around the spring was harvested for timber. The erosion that followed the clear-cutting continued for many years, until the forest surrounding the spring regenerated. Josh Smith, Executive Director of the Conasauga River Alliance, says the new trees’ root systems should provide the soils that border the spring enough stability to keep the spring healthy and free of excessive silt from now on.

Essential to the project was GeoHay’s donation of multiple GeoHay silt-filtering devices. According to GeoHay President Tim Stillwell, GeoHay is an erosion-control barrier made entirely from recycled carpet fibers. GeoHay uses about a million pounds of old carpet each year to manufacture GeoHay – and that’s a million pounds that aren’t on their way to landfills!

Extensive testing has shown that GeoHay is far superior to hay or other natural erosion barriers. Besides its landfill-diversion benefits, GeoHay is reusable, long-lasting, and won’t carry seeds from non-native plant species from one natural environment to another.

GeoHay filters water

Silt and water from the spring were pumped through a culvert from the Badger Farm to an open pasture on the Petty Farm. To keep the silt from simply running back down to the creek and then to the Conasauga River, GeoHay was used to filter the water before it returned to the watershed.

At a public event held at Colvard Springs to discuss the conservation project, Georgia State Senator-elect Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) said, “These are the sorts of technologies we’re all going to have to be more comfortable with. Water quality is important to all of us, whether we’re a darter or we drink from a municipal or private well.”

Carpet Benefit: cow-proof!

At one point during the ceremonies, a young Angus heifer approached the bale of GeoHay, no doubt thinking she was in for a tasty treat. A tentative sniff and lick were enough to convince her that this bale was not for lunch! Yet another example of the benefits of carpet…

Here's a link to the Chattanooga Times Free Press article titled Darter housecleaning gets help from carpet recycler.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

CRI Annual Meeting 2010 Features Andy Wright, Dutko Worldwide

CRI Annual Meeting 2010 Features Andy Wright, Dutko Worlwide

Werner Braun says: Check out Carpet and Rug Institute's (CRI's) annual meeting on November 11, 2010 for an opportunity to hear a nationally-recognized political analyst. 

Dutko Worldwide’s Andy Wright gives his perspective on the 2010 mid-term elections – all are invited!

In his weekly column for the Dalton Daily Citizen dated November 5, 2010 and titled Check out CRI's annual meeting, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun  talks about CRI’s Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 11th from 10 until approximately 11:30 am at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton.

The CRI annual meeting is free and open to the public. In addition to Werner’s comments about the current state of the carpet industry, CRI Board Chair and Beaulieu Group President Ralph Boe will talk about the Carpet and Rug Institute’s accomplishments over the past year.

Of particular interest will be comments from keynote speaker Andy Wright,  Managing Director and Senior Vice President for Dutko Worldwide, one of Washington’s premier government affairs firms that also serves as CRI’s lobbying arm in D.C. His presentation will recap the election and the implication of the election on future federal government policy issues. According to Werner,

“But more than anything, the annual meeting is a time for us to share with you. The carpet industry has made strides in 2010, despite economic difficulties that have pressured us all to think harder, work smarter and listen closer.

The carpet industry and CRI cordially invites you to join us on November 11th to explore the carpet industry with us in more detail. Remember, the annual meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, check out our Web site at http://www.carpet-rug.com/.”

Thank you, Werner.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CRI's Pat Jennings at Connections 2010

CRI at Connections

On Friends, Family, and Seal of Approval - Pat Jennings Revs It Up in the CRI Booth at Connections

I spent a week in early September in Las Vegas, manning the CRI booth at Connections, a trade show and educational exhibition for the cleaning and restoration industry.  As anyone who has ever manned a booth at a trade show or similar event can tell you, the long hours on your feet take a mental and physical toll. The upside, of course, is that a trade show exhibit is the perfect outpost for meeting people and sharing the positive story about carpet, the Carpet and Rug Institute, and its Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products, equipment, and service providers. 

For me, the Connections trade show is just what the name implies – an enjoyable opportunity for me to connect with the people I work with all year long – the manufacturers, distributors, and Service Providers who participate in the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval Program

This Connections was a special treat for me in that my husband John, who retired this year, was able to go with me. He took in the sights, rolled a few dice, and basically enjoyed having a little time to himself during the hours when I was at the booth. It was such fun to have him there -- we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a special dinner at TJ’s steakhouse,  shopped for pretties to take home to our 5 year-old granddaughter, and went to see the moving statues at Caesar’s Palace

1934 Ford Hotrod
John is one of those people who never meets a stranger -- he made fast friends with all my Seal of Approval pals, discovered several other “motorheads” in the group, and fascinated everyone with details of his latest monkey wrench masterpiece – a 1932 Ford Hotrod.

This is not a “kit car”, as he will firmly tell you -- John is building it from scratch. He has the chassis, has ordered the brakes from someplace in Texas, and is making a lot of the parts himself. The picture above shows you the 1934 model he built a few years ago. The current project is still just a pile of bits and pieces in John’s workshop, but he says it is going to be beautiful, and I have learned over the years to have faith.

1932 M&M Hotrod
The last day of the show, Gary Glenn from A-Town/Hi-Tech, LP came by the booth with a mysterious bundle in a ‘plastic give-away’ bag. “It’s for John,” he said.

When John opened it later we discovered to our delight, a colorful plastic replica of the ’32 Ford Hotrod – an M&Ms dispenser, actually. Two jaunty M&Ms characters (Plain and Peanut) are seated in the seats, and when you pull a lever, M&Ms come shooting out the trunk. Needless to say, we were thrilled with the gift, and so touched at Gary’s thoughtfulness.

At CRI, we refer to our Seal of Approval participants as a family of sorts, and this story goes a long to way to explain the truth behind that. This week’s activity -- where my SOA family made friends with my real one -- was worth all the tired feet in the world.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carpet Industry Cares For Community: Werner Braun

Carpet Industry Cares For Community: Werner Braun

Good Citizenship is Part of Sustainability - Carpet industry and its employees give back to Dalton, other communities

In an article titled Carpet cares for the community that appeared in the September 10, 2010 edition of the Dalton, Georgia Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about how CRI-member companies and their employees contribute greatly to the well-being of the communities they inhabit. Braun explains, “The carpet industry does much more than make the world’s most popular floor covering; it is working to make a difference in the quality of life in our communities.”

To put this in perspective, CRI and its members believe that how a company fulfills its social responsibilities is an integral part of that company’s overall measure of sustainability. For a company to be sustainable, it should adhere to the “triple bottom-line” model of environmental stewardship, economic stability, and social responsibility. The social aspect of sustainability promotes social interaction and cultural enrichment, with emphasis on protecting the vulnerable and respecting social diversity.

As the article points out, it would be difficult to mention all of the ways CRI members contribute to their communities. Certainly, Carpet and Rug Institute member companies and their employees are major sponsors, organizers, and supporters of fund drives in the Dalton area, such as:

“… the Elks Club, Rotary Clubs, Civitan, Kiwanis, Sertoma, Lions, a variety of religious functions, League of Women Voters, Red Cross Volunteers, Garden Clubs, United Way, Chambers of Commerce, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Toys for Tots, Creative Arts Guild, Habitat for Humanities, March of Dimes, Alzheimer’s Association, Friendship House, Target Tomorrow and many more.

The companies are intently interested in employee satisfaction and development. Educational enhancement values are available in almost every company, such as GEDs offered and earned, language classes, and tuition reimbursement. Health is a priority, with counseling and care for illness reduction and nutritional and wellness programs.

I think it is an understatement when I say that carpet and Georgia go hand-in-hand. But I think it’s an even larger understatement to say that the carpet industry makes much more than just a product: It helps make our community.”

Thank you, Werner.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sustainability, The Conasauga River & Carpet Industry's Jeff Carrier

Jeff Carrier, CRI Sustainability Manager

Wading In on Sustainability - CRI Sustainability Manager Jeff Carrier Takes Green Carpet Industry Message to the Conasauga River

I took a personal day recently and had an adventure of sorts – I went on a field trip to the Conasauga River with Mrs. Underwood’s and Mrs. Ryerson’s seventh grade classes from North Whitfield Middle School in Whitfield County, Georgia.

One thing that makes me certain that the current widespread interest in sustainability is a long-term sign of things to come is the fact that it’s being taught in schools. It’s amazing to me the extent to which sustainability has been integrated into the science curriculum of this middle school and many others like it. This group of seventh-graders had been learning about life cycle analysis and closed-loop manufacturing. My generation was not presented with this material until much later in our science education- if at all.

The Conasauga River is of particular interest to us here in the Dalton, Georgia area because its watershed is the primary water source for the carpet industry in Northwest Georgia and one of the most diverse in the United States. In fact, it hosts more than 90 species of fish and 25 freshwater mussels – that’s more than the much larger and more famous Colorado River. Mrs. Underwood has been instructing her students on the magnificent Conasauga River ecosystem and how human activities have impacted this treasure.

After a long and winding bus ride up the Forest Service access road, the 48 students were divided into three groups. I was scheduled to help run water quality tests measuring pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphorous, and turbidity. However, since I was willing to get into the water, my talents were called on for another activity -- snorkeling. I was game – I mean, how hard could it be to put 16 kids in the river and swim around in a fast current and 56-degree water looking at fish and mussels?

Wetsuits for all!

Fortunately, the U.S. Forest Service was on-hand with five Rangers and enough wet suits for everyone. Still, it was challenging – and cold. The Rangers worked diligently and passed a tremendous knowledge and appreciation of the watershed to the kids. Another group of students worked in a small tributary and studied the macroinvertebrate life living outside the river itself. One of the Rangers demonstrated electrofishing (don’t worry, completely harmless to the aquatic life) and showed the kids an immense variety of aquatic life.

Wading into the Conasauga River

So much to see: Conasauga crayfish
The carpet industry has long supported efforts to preserve and protect the Conasauga River Watershed. Each year, the industry participates in the Conasauga Watershed Clean-Up. This is the 16th year and I am proud to be a part again this year, contributing my Triple-T (time, talents, and treasure).

I urge those of you in the Northwest Georgia area to help support this worthwhile cause. Look for flyers posted on the Ryerson-Underwood page (Recent Announcements, “Conasauga River”) for more details on events like the one that took place on October 23rd from 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM. You'll find information on Conasauga River event locations and also the youth waivers. Be sure to check out the pictures from our river exploration (Recent Announcements, “Pictures are Posted”). I've included a few of those here in this post.

An incredible bunch of kids
There were a number of take-aways from this experience. Probably none more important than seeing what a couple of motivated, inspired teachers can achieve with a class full of kids. The engagement and interest from this group was far more than what our cynical society has taught us to expect from our educational system.

Second, our Forest Service is filled with dedicated, knowledgeable, and hard working professionals who relish the opportunities to share their love and respect for our wild lands.

I encourage everyone to contact a teacher at a local school- any grade or discipline- and offer your support. You’ll be amazed how much benefit you will receive in return!

~ Jeff
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