Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carpet and Rug Institute's Werner Braun on Seal of Approval Program

Carpet and Rug Institute's Werner Braun on Seal of Approval Program

Facing a Tough Crowd: Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun answers tough questions about Seal of Approval Program

In his weekly column for the Dalton Daily Citizen dated October 15, 2010 and titled "Working with carpet cleaners", Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun discusses his October presentation at Connections, a trade show for people in the cleaning and restoration industry.

Werner spoke about the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning solutions and equipment, specifically, the programs’ growth and changes during its first five years. He also addressed some of the program’s critics and found more areas for agreement than he initially expected. Werner explains:

“Unfortunately, not every one views the world of cleaning carpet through the same pair of glasses.

For the greater majority, [the Seal of Approval] testing program has proven to be a godsend. It has allowed [equipment and solutions manufacturers] to measure their performance, and as I like to say around here, if you can’t measure then you can’t improve it. That’s exactly what has happened: Chemical and equipment manufacturers have found ways to better their products through the testing, and today it is the consumer who is reaping the benefits.

There is a small vocal minority, however, that is not happy with the way their products have performed in the tests, and instead of spending money to research them and better them, have chosen to try to discredit the CRI SOA program.

…A funny thing happened along this road to ambush: There was dialogue.

…We are advocates for not only our manufacturers but for our consumers and for the people who serve our industry in whatever capacity. We have listened to the valid complaints and we have addressed them.

CRI is not here to rule the cleaning industry or any industry with an iron fist… If people have legitimate complaints or questions, our staff and our committees are always here to welcome them with open arms and address those that we can.”

Thank you, Werner!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cleaning For A Reason: Please Help!

Cleaning For A Reason

When Cleaning Meets Healing: Professional Housecleaners Make Life Easier for Cancer Patients via “Cleaning for a Reason

Have you ever struggled with knowing just what to do to offer meaningful help to a friend? True to my Southern roots, my first choice is to provide food – a casserole or side dish that can be served now or put in the freezer for later – in a disposable dish that doesn’t have to be returned. Just something to help someone get through the day with a little more comfort.

Women with cancer have so much to deal with simply struggling with the realities of their diagnoses and coping with the pain and discomfort of treatment. On top of that, there is the stress of not being able to take care of their homes and families they way they once did. Understanding how important a clean and comfortable home is to the healing process, Cleaning for a Reason, a group supported by the professional cleaning industry, is providing a wonderful, caring service to cancer patients from all over the United States.

Cleaning for a Reason offers free professional housecleaning and maid services to improve the lives of women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Cancer patients can sign up to receive help from a nationwide network of participating cleaning companies. And for everyone who joins the Hoover or Cleaning for a Reason Facebook page, Hoover will contribute $1(up to $25,000). Talk about help where it is needed.

I first encountered Cleaning for a Reason last month at the ISSA cleaning industry trade show. The Hoover Company, makers of Hoover vacuums and a CRI Seal of Approval participating company,  is the corporate sponsor for Cleaning for a Reason.

I urge everyone to check out Cleaning for a Reason – there are many ways to help. Join a Facebook page, add your company to the network of professional cleaners, or buy something from the Cleaning for a Reason estore. Or find help and healing from people who are offering their services in a meaningful way.

As their website says, Cleaning for a Reason is an organization of people who “put their hearts and souls into housecleaning.”


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Season's Greetings From Carpet and Rug Institute & Carpet America Recovery Effort

Season's Greetings  from CRI and CARE
Season’s Greetings

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

Remember, vacuuming up evergreen needles is easier and more efficient with a Seal of Approval vacuum

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Government Mandates vs. Private Sector Recycling: Carpet and Rug Institute's Jennifer Mendez

Government Mandates Vs. Private Sector Recycling Efforts: Carpet and Rug Institute’s Jennifer Mendez discusses the differences

In an article that appears in the November/December, 2010 edition of Inside ALEC, the professional journal of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Carpet and Rug Institute Director of Government Affairs Jennifer Mendez discusses the current situation and future outlook for extended producer responsibility legislation in states around the U.S.

According to its website, ALEC is a “nonpartisan public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public.” Jennifer is the current chair of ALEC’s Environmental Health & Regulation Subcommittee and is a member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force. (see related blog posts Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): Carpet & CARE and Carpet Industry, Extended Producer Responsibility, CRI Legislative Update)

In her article, titled, A Tax in Sheep’s Clothing - How Extended Producer Responsibility Mandates Can Hurt Consumers and Business [see page 12], Jennifer first explains that extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation (sometimes called product stewardship or take-back programs) is an approach to environmental protection that calls on those in the product lifecycle—manufacturers, retailers, users, and disposers— to share responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products.

EPR legislation is currently being proposed in one form or another in several states, and the state of California, in its recent session of the state legislature, passed the nation’s first-ever EPR bill that is specific for carpet. The California law, called AB 2398, is aimed at increasing the landfill diversion and recycling of postconsumer carpet generated in California. Beginning July 1, 2011, carpet manufacturers will add an assessment of $0.05 per square yard on the purchase price of ALL carpet sold in California. Dealers and retailers must make this assessment visible on all invoices.

Jennifer Mendez: A Tax in Sheep’s Clothing - How Extended Producer Responsibility Mandates Can Hurt Consumers and Business
One significant aspect differentiating AB 2398 from other extended producer legislation is that the monies collected will not be awarded to the state, but will instead be used to incentivize the growth of diversion, recycling and markets for secondary products made from post-consumer carpet by rewarding the innovators and entrepreneurs who are finding sustainable solutions to the problem of carpet in landfills. In short, the money will stay in the private sector.

Keeping the responsibility for product end-of-life management in the hands of the private sector whenever possible is the main point Mendez makes in her article. She comments on several states that have either passed or are in the process of considering EPR “framework legislation”, broad-reaching, open-ended bills that signal the state’s intention to regulate more aggressively in the future.

“Government directed Framework Product Stewardship (PS) or EPR programs use a one-size fits all approach to extended producer responsibility by creating state government bureaucracies and mandated program elements… Broad ‘Framework EPR Programs’ as currently developed are open-ended, unclear, and most likely will increase state cost for management by state agencies, which in turn adds costs to the consumers and manufacturers. State agencies would bear the cost to study and prioritize products, review and approve plans and reports and to audit for compliance and enforcement. Consumers will pay more for products and manufacturers will be forced to finance government-mandated programs, and of course the cost of doing so will be passed on to the consumers who purchase the products.”

The article suggests that, as an alternative to legislative mandates, states encourage market-based solutions to product stewardship, especially for those products which don’t pose a toxic hazard to the environment. A number of industries, including the carpet industry, already have voluntary recycling programs in place (See related blog posts about the successful product stewardship efforts of the Carpet America Recovery Effort). The carpet industry is one of several environmentally proactive industries that have increased their recycling efforts, not because of mandates, but because it was the best choice from a business sense. Market-driven recycling programs are the most efficient means of collecting and reusing product materials at the end of those products’ useful life-cycles.

“In a struggling economy, [government mandated EPR programs] do not encourage product makers to locate, expand, or re-invest in any state or create jobs. Market-driven programs are the key to addressing end-of-life collection and job creation. From batteries to motor vehicles to carpet, these industry programs have served an essential role in providing sustainable solutions for concerns about waste.”

Thank you, Jennifer.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Japan and US Carpet Industry: Werner Braun

Japan and US Carpet Industry: Werner Braun

Japanese Visitors Share Carpet Issues with U.S. Carpet Industry by Werner Braun

In his weekly column for the Dalton Daily Citizen dated October 8, 2010 and titled "Visitors can shed some light", Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about some recent visitors from Japan and what they might offer the U.S. carpet industry. The article points out that, while the U.S. and Japanese carpet markets do not overlap to any appreciable degree, the two industries share many of the same issues and concerns.

“Currently, only about 3-5 percent of the floors in Japan are covered in carpet, and one of the biggest issues in getting people to select carpet is the asthma and allergy problem we continue to wrestle with ourselves. The Japanese contingent shared with us the data and studies they had accumulated to help in the battle against this urban myth and we gladly shared with them the information we have that helps dispel the notion that carpet somehow or someway aggravates asthma and allergies.

Aside from being hospitable, though, what exactly is the benefit to us? Well, if we can get Japan armed and help them to hurdle this obstacle it gives us yet another “third party” spokesman for what we are trying to tell consumers. One of the things we have long tied our hitch to has been a Swedish study in which the Swedish government literally banned carpet from buildings because of a high asthma rate. And they did a great job at it, reducing carpet to a share of 2-3 percent in Sweden. The result, however, showed asthma rates skyrocketing even more. One would think if carpet were “the” problem then the rates would do anything but rise.

So if Japan can help shed some light and affect carpet share there, it would be something we could obviously point to and cite in our own talking points.”

Thank you, Werner!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CARE Webinar: AB 2398 California Carpet Recycling Bill

CARE Webinar: AB 2398 California Carpet Recycling Bill

CARE Online Webinar Explains AB 2398 California Carpet Recycling Bill

The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) has posted two important resources on its website that help clarify questions about carpet recycling in California. CARE has posted both a video and PowerPoint explaining the details of California’s AB 2398, the nation’s first extended producer responsibility legislation that deals specifically with carpet. The one hour, eleven minute video uses the PowerPoint presentation, with added narration from CARE Executive Director Georgina Sikorski, as well as a question and answer session following the presentation.
The video explains the goals of AB 2398 as well as the relationships among the parties involved in the process, including carpet manufacturers, distributors and retailers; the state of California as represented by CalRecycle; CARE, and carpet processors and recyclers.

Basically, the goal of AB 2398 is to increase the landfill diversion and recycling of postconsumer carpet generated in California. Beginning July 1, 2011, carpet manufacturers will add an assessment of $0.05 per square yard on the purchase price of ALL carpet sold in California. Dealers and retailers must make this assessment visible on all invoices. One significant aspect differentiating AB 2398 from other extended producer legislation is that the monies collected will not be awarded to the state, but will instead be used to incentivize the growth of diversion, recycling and markets for secondary products made from post-consumer carpet by rewarding the innovators and entrepreneurs who are finding sustainable solutions to the problem of carpet in landfills.

Both the PowerPoint presentation and webinar contain a link to the AB 2398 bill document so that it can be read its entirety.

The video points out that, while there is significant work that remains to be done before AB 2398 takes effect in July of 2011, the presentation is a comprehensive overview of the bill and its implications for all parties involved. Ms. Sikorski describes AB 2398 as “a new day for us in the world of carpet recycling.”

~ Bethany

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Carpet Cleaning Tips From Carpet and Rug Institute: Werner Braun

Holiday Carpet Cleaning Tips From Carpet and Rug Institute: Werner Braun

Keeping Carpet Clean Will Keep the Holidays Merry and Bright - Holiday Cleaning Tips from the Carpet and Rug Institute

In his column that appeared in the December 3, 2010 edition of Dalton’s Daily-Citizen titled, 'It’s the most wonderful time of the year ...', Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun shares his secret for surviving the busy holiday season and keeping the carpet in our homes as clean as possible. “Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies,” was developed by the Carpet and Rug Institute as a how-to guide that offers easy carpet cleaning tips. As Werner says in his article,

“…some people think that keeping carpet clean and beautiful is hard work. It really isn’t. Not if you clean it properly, with the right frequency and the right products.”

The booklet explains why it’s important to keep our carpets clean, both as a way to protect our home furnishings investment and as a method for keeping our homes healthy and clean. Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies, or CCTfD as we call it here at CRI, is a valuable resource all on its own, but it offers the added benefit of leading consumers to CRI’s website where they will find lists of vacuum cleaners, extractors, and spot removers that have passed the testing and been certified under CRI’s Seal of Approval Program as well as approved professional cleaners listed by Zip code.

“Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies will save you time by zeroing in on the best cleaning techniques, helping you identify the products and equipment you need to get the results you want. Proper cleaning and maintenance of your carpet makes all the difference in the world. It can preserve the life and beauty of your carpet, improve your indoor air quality, and avoid premature replacement costs and disposal in landfills.”

There are also tips for pet owners and advice on how to clean precious Oriental rugs.

“This little book isn’t just for homes or when ‘there’ll be much mistletoeing’. It’s for all carpet situations, and for anytime of the year.

I know it’s a stretch to say this book should be a stocking stuffer, but don’t miss your chance to have it handy for all the possible stains this holiday season — you know they will happen.”

Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies is sponsored by CRI and and published by Wiley Publishing Inc. The book is available for $2 and can be ordered online ( or by contacting CRI’s Publication Department at (706) 428-2114.

Thank you, Werner!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CRI Green Label Plus Carpet Collection Video Tutorial

CRI Green Label Plus Carpet Collection Video Tutorial

Green Label Plus Carpet Collection Video Tutorial on YouTube: CRI Demonstrates Carpet Sample Collection

It may not get as many hits as Justin Bieber singing in the shower, but in certain circles, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s new video posted on YouTube is pretty exciting news.

The eight-minute video, written and narrated by CRI Sustainability and Indoor Air Quality Manager Jeff Carrier, shows the right way to collect samples for its Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality testing program. According to Jeff, CRI made the video in part because the GLP standard is increasingly being adopted by international manufacturers and organizations, and CRI needed a demonstration that transcended the language barrier. The video helps ensure consistency among sample collectors and protects the integrity of the program itself.

Here is an excerpt from the script:

“Before we begin, let’s review some of the basics of the Green Label Plus Program. This program tests for the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds. The laboratory uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to evaluate the chemical emissions. This is extremely sensitive equipment and can detect the faintest traces of the target chemicals. For this reason, it is extremely important that no inadvertent contact is made with the sample or sources of VOCs. It is important to ensure that your cutting knife is free from any oils or solvents that may contain VOCs. Also, that you take care not to accidentally brush the sample across any surfaces. Always wear your latex gloves as demonstrated in the video.

Collection must be made at the end of the production process. For most broadloom carpets this will be at the inspection/roll-up alley. For modular tile, this will be at the packaging line.”

“Place the tiles flat in the bottom of the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and place the zip tie around the neck of the bag as close to the sample as possible. Seal the sample as tightly as possible to minimize air moving in and out of the bag.

The sample is now sealed and you may remove your gloves. The next step is to complete the Chain of Custody form. The CRI representative will have completed most of the information. Complete the Collection Information section with

1. Collector Name
2. Collector Phone
3. Collector Signature
4. Date Collected
5. Time Collected
6. Collection Location

The Collection Location should be described as the plant name and the location in the plant such as “inspection alley” or “packaging line”.

Overnight shipment is not required but the shipment must be received at the laboratory between the third and fifth day after collection.

Once again, thank you for your participation in the Green Label Plus program. It is your effort that makes the program the world’s leader for Indoor Air Quality testing. We hope you find this video useful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us any time.”

Thank you, Jeff!

You can view the video here or by clicking on this link to YouTube - CRI Green Label Plus Sample Collection Tutorial.

If you'd like to read through the Green Label Plus Carpet Collection tutorial video script, here's a link to that, too.

And, if you have any questions about the CRI Green Label Plus Carpet Collection process, please let us know in the comments.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing Scary About AB 2398 Carpet Stewardship Bill: Werner Braun


Werner Braun: New California Recycling Bill Signed Into Law - More recycling, landfill diversion of carpet likely result

Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun  addressed the newly signed AB 2398 Carpet Stewardship Bill in an article that appeared September 24 in the Dalton, Georgia Daily-Citizen, titled "Nothing scary about this change".

The bill, which will add a 5-cents per square yard consumer surcharge on all carpet sold in California, is designed to increase the recycling, reuse, and landfill diversion of postconsumer carpet in the state by incentivizing businesses that make products using postconsumer carpet content. State figures show that California accounts for approximately one-tenth of all carpet discarded in the United States each year — or roughly 350 million pounds.

The bill further requires manufacturers to submit a stewardship plan to the state office responsible for recycling. The Carpet America recovery Effort (CARE) has been selected to put the industry stewardship plan together and administer the program initially.

“The idea behind AB 2398 is that by rewarding results, successful carpet diversion efforts will be able to increase their activity and keep more and more carpet out of the landfill.

But even more exciting than CARE and the Carpet and Rug Institute’s involvement is the bill’s uniqueness: the “incentive fund” promotes private sector diversion growth. Because growth and change for California looks anything but scary; it is an excellent example of the carpet industry’s enduring commitment to true environmental sustainability.”

Thank you, Werner!

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