Thursday, September 27, 2012

Natural Pesticides – Mannington Mills Goes for the Birds

Natural Pesticides – Mannington Mills Goes for the Birds
In another of a series of columns about the remarkable sustainability efforts U.S. carpet manufacturers have undertaken in recent years to conserve resources and protect the environment, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about how CRI-member manufacturer Mannington Mills uses birds to keep the bugs out of their products in his September 14, 2012 column titled Novel idea is for the birds for Dalton, Georgia’s Daily-Citizen newspaper.

Mannington, which is based in Salem, N.J., manufactures various forms of hard surface floors as well as carpet. Located in southern New Jersey, Salem is home to one of the nation’s largest tidal wetlands, and is, as you might imagine, a major breeding ground for mosquitos.  Always a nuisance to employees, sometime during the mid-1980s the mosquitos started showing up in the flooring products, as the insects that flew into the manufacturing facility became embedded in the still-wet surface finish of the flooring products. The mosquitoes needed to be stopped.

“Using pesticides to rid the area of mosquitoes was certainly one option, but many Mannington associates became convinced that there were more natural methods to rid the area of mosquitoes than using pesticides.

That’s when they decided to “invite” the purple martins to come to their aid. Purple martins are birds that migrate from Brazil to the United States each summer, and they eat massive amounts of insects.

But because purple martins east of the Rocky Mountains are entirely dependent upon man-made houses, the company needed to make them “feel at home” by installing special houses for them adjacent to their manufacturing buildings.

While the process of attracting the birds took some time, over the years, the population of purple martins has grown considerably.

 By 2001, there were 42 nests, 132 eggs and 104 youngsters at the site. By August of this year, that number has grown to 96 nests, 429 eggs and 383 youngsters.

It turns out that this site is now home to one of the largest concentrations of purple martins in New Jersey. And the birds, along with the continuing use of screens and bug-proof entries, have helped achieve the company’s goal of reducing the insect population.

Mannington believes that the “Purple Martin Project” has proven to be one of the most environmentally friendly and cost effective ways to deal with the insects.

 I would have to agree. They came up with a win-win solution that is pretty darn creative in my book.”

Thanks, Werner.

If you'd like to learn more, we invite you to read Mannington's blog article titled Fall’s Here, So Bye, Bye Birdies (but only for a bit!).


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Million Dollar Gold Vacuum Cleaning Up for Online Retailer

If I had a million dollars, I can tell you one thing I would not do with it: buy a gold-plated, million-dollar vacuum cleaner.

But not everyone is like me, and for them, Justin Haver and the online retail site has just the thing: the GV62711 24-carat gold-plated vacuum cleaner. There will only be 100 of them made, so act quick.

Golden Vacuum Promotion is Cleaning Up for Online Retail Site

The vacuum has its own promotional rap song, and the viral video  to go with it.

Read Matt Spieler’s interview titled $1 million vacuum developed by with Justin in Floor Covering News.   

Golden Vacuum Starts Out with Silver, Turns to Diamond Dust

Before the GV62711 24 receives its gilded sheen, it starts out as a Royal model MRY8200, which is listed as a Silver-Rated vacuum in the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum cleaner testing program. The SOA program tests for efficiency in soil removal and soil containment. Haver’s modified version, however, has not been tested and is not listed as an SOA-approved vacuum.

For diamond lovers, is running a contest which offers as a prize a silver-plated upright vacuum covered in diamond dust and sparkling faux gemstones.

Congratulations, Justin, on a fun and creative online marketing campaign that has gotten great visibility, and maybe – who knows – some takers for your 24-carat vacuum cleaner. For those who enjoy creative discussion about vacuum cleaners, (and I know plenty of you are out there) check out Justin’s blog, The Quirky Vacuum Blog of GoVaccum.

What do you think – will he sell any? Justin, check back with us soon and let us know.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Despite NYT Negative Article, Dalton GA Fights Back!

NYT: Negative Article Failed to Pull the Rug from Under the Carpet Capital.  Dalton, Georgia may be down, but it’s fighting back

The people of Dalton took it on the chin when a story, titled, “No End to Housing Collapse in the ‘Carpet Capital’” appeared in the New York Times on August 21, 2012. The article was written by Kim Severson, an award-winning food writer who is also the Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times.

Her article cited Dalton’s continuing high unemployment rate and the impact the housing collapse has had on the carpet industry located here. The tone was harsh, and said, among other things, that Dalton’s main street, “holds not much more than three pawn shops, an espresso bar that plays Christian soft rock and the headquarters for the Carpet and Rug Institute, a trade group.” Her snide comments hit local Dalton citizens, including me, pretty hard.  There’s nothing like having a stranger come in and kick you when you are down to really make you mad.

In his August 31, 2012 column titled Dalton bouncing back in the Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun reacts to the Times’ negative article, and establishes the case for why Dalton is still the Carpet Capital of the World.

When I walk through downtown Dalton, I don’t see just three pawn shops and an espresso bar. We are still the carpet capital of the world, and probably always will be.

 The statistics bear this out. Sixty-five percent of the carpet produced in the United States is made within a 30-mile radius of Dalton. And 85 percent of carpet made in America is produced in Georgia. And that percentage has not changed during the recent recession.

 When the recession reared its ugly head back in 2008, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) had 25 carpet mills among its membership. And since then, we’ve lost only one mill. It seems to me that that fact alone flies in the face of everything Severson said in her piece.

 In fact, our industry is on the upswing. Last year we actually grew in the commercial sector by about 10 percent, and even residential sales rose between 1 and 2 percent.

Even though Dalton is coming back, that’s not to say that there aren’t people out of work, and there are those who are suffering financially. But our hardships are not nearly as extreme, desperate, and hopeless as Severson made them out to be.

 When I walk down our main street, I see a very healthy downtown, brimming with good restaurants, many of which were opened over the past two-and-a-half years. I see charming gift shops, jewelry stores, book stores, banks, small companies and much more.

Come back, Ms. Severson, and take another look at Dalton.”

Thank you, Werner.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bob Peoples Talks about Carpet Recycling and CARE

Bob Peoples Talks about Carpet Recycling and CARE
Dr. Robert Peoples, who was one of the founders of Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)  and the carpet recycling and diversion group’s first executive director, from 2004-2008, gives his first interview since agreeing to return to CARE in his former leadership role.

The interview aired on the flooring industry news site In the 7-minute interview, Dr. Peoples talked about his background in fiber technology which goes back to the late 1970s. He said returning to CARE “just made a lot of sense,” after he heard former CARE Executive Director Georgina Sikorski was leaving the organization. Ms. Sikorski did an excellent job and, “created some big expectations to be filled”, which he said he was committed to continuing.

 “I have great passion for CARE… I am proud of the progress, particularly in these tough economic times,” he said, pointing to CARE’s increased level of carpet diversion, which has now reached well over 2 billion pounds of carpet kept out of landfills since the group started keeping count in 2002.

To listen to the interview, click on Bob Peoples Discusses His Decision to Return as Director for CARE.

You can also listen here:


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dalton Student Reflects on Visit to Germany

Dalton Student Reflects on Visit to Germany by Werner Braun
In his July 13, 2012 column titled "German reflections" in the Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun  reflects on the cultural differences a group of 14 Dalton students – one of whom was his daughter Marylyn -  discovered on a recent trip to Germany.

“As many of you know, I’m a native of Germany, having been brought to this country before I started kindergarten (which, by the way, is German in origin — a word meaning “children’s garden”). During my childhood, all the way through my college years, only German was spoken in my home, so I was bilingual without having really had any formal instruction in the language. To read German newspapers, I had to sight read — to sound out the words myself because I had never studied the language. It took forever.

 My daughter, Marylyn, who went on the trip, has had the formal education in the language that I never had, but she hadn’t had the day-to-day immersion experience that you have when you live with others who speak one language daily.

 When I asked her what she missed about her three weeks in Germany, she didn’t miss a beat: the simplicity, she said.

 What Marylyn discovered, and what shouldn’t be surprising to us, is that the German way of life is very different from ours. Televisions don’t play a huge role in Germans’ day-to-day lives, and car ownership by teens is almost unheard of.

 In Germany, it seemed to Marylyn as if activities, including sports, dance and even after-school jobs, were scheduled such that mealtimes were not continually put on the back burner. Eating together as a family seemed to be a real priority there. She liked that.

 A result of this togetherness, Marylyn felt, was a very, very good quality of life. They work hard, she observed, to provide quality time with their families.

 Something else that surprised Marylyn was the amount of freedom that German teens have. The crime rate there is low, and it was not unusual or alarming to see 16- and 17-year-olds out visiting until 2 a.m. in the morning in coffee shops in their village. Her host family didn’t watch their children or Marylyn’s every move 24/7, as we tend to do with our children. As a result, she returned from Germany demonstrating a higher level of personal responsibility and confidence that should serve her well in the coming years.

 I, for one, realize how fortunate we all are to have cultural exchange opportunities for the young people in our community. These programs give them the chance to spread their wings and make it easier for these young citizens to flourish in the multicultural world we live in today.”

Thank you, Werner.

~ Bethany

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vacuuming Essential to Clean Indoor Air

Vacuuming is Essential to Indoor Air Quality
If you have ever wondered whether running the vacuum really makes a difference, an article published on the cleaning industry news and education site CleanLink online gives a very clear picture of just how important vacuuming is to the home or workplace.

Written by BJ Mandelstam, founder and president of Cleaning Matters, a Denver-based custodial consulting practice, the article, titled, Reduced Vacuuming Impacts IAQ, tells how reducing how often you run the vacuum not only robs your beautiful carpet of its “new” look,  it also makes it wear out faster and lessens the quality of the air indoors.

“Health experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. The estimated number of people with asthma has risen more than 59 percent since 1970. (While carpet use has gone down 20 percent or more, in some areas [ed.]).

In 1993, John W. Maunder, Ph.D., director of the Medical Entomology Center at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, established the connection between the level of dust mite allergens in an indoor environment and the prevalence of asthma.

Asthmatics are not allergic to living mites but to the airborne feces of mites and, to a much lesser extent, to dead mites. Dr. Maunder states that although living mites are difficult to remove from carpet, their feces are readily removed from carpets by proper cleaning.

‘A carpet regularly cleaned will not and cannot contain enough allergen to affect people. The proper maintenance of carpet completely prevents trouble from that source,’ he writes.

A recent study concludes that carpets may benefit indoor air quality by acting as a filter for indoor air, trapping and holding dust mites, pollutants, and allergens such as pollen, pet dander and molds, which play an important role in allergic diseases. The key to maintaining good indoor air quality in a school or office building is to clean this filter regularly, i.e., remove these pollutants through vacuuming.”

You can find a list of effective, high-performing vacuums on the Carpet and Rug Institute website.   I have a new vacuum that (almost) makes it fun to clean my floors! Maybe I’ll take it for a spin when I get home…

Here’s something I want to know - How often should I vacuum? Is there a way to know when it’s time? Let me know what you think.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Fresh (Carpet) Perspective on International Business

A Fresh Carpet Perspective on International Business
An international business student’s presentation on how U.S businesses can be more successful with their international trading partners was the topic of Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s  August 24, 2012 column in the Dalton, Georgia Daily-Citizen newspaper in an article titled "Our young folks and international business."

The presentation was made by Allen Norris, a senior majoring in international business with a concentration in management and entrepreneurship at Kennesaw State University. 

“Did you know?

• China is the most populous nation in the world with 1.34 billion people.

• Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than one billion people worldwide, making it the most spoken language in the world.

• China has the highest number of middle-class consumers, more than 300 million, in the world.

• As the largest exporter to the United States, China boasts the second largest economy.

• China is the No. 1 consumer of steel and oil products in the world.

‘The most important lesson I have taken away from my travels and studies is that the best way for American businesses to succeed around the world is to learn about and experience as many cultures of the different countries that we will inevitably be doing business with. The carpet industry is one of many that are looking to emerging markets such as India and China for future gains,” Allen remarked.”

Thank you, Werner!

Are you looking to emerging markets such as India and China for your business? What have you discovered is important for international business?

~ Bethany

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When to Clean Carpets, Who to Hire?

Grayson Smith Carpet Cleaning Company
Here are two more good articles from the Grayson Smith Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company’s blogGrayson Smith has been in business in the Memphis, Tennessee area since 1970.

Their article, “When Should You Clean Your Carpets?”  addresses a question so many consumers ask. Here are the article's top points:

• Proper professional cleaning will extend the useful life of the carpet

• If carpet looks dirty, it is already past the time it should have been cleaned

• Cleaning for health has a bigger impact on people's lives than merely cleaning for appearance

• The carpet in most homes would benefit from cleaning more often than it is being cleaned presently

There are two primary factors to consider, vacuuming frequency and the environment within the home. If you vacuum at least once a week, consider cleaning every 12 to 18 months. If you vacuum less, maybe clean every 9 to 12 months. However, if any of the following home environment conditions exist, consider professional cleaning more frequently than just mentioned:

• Smokers
• Pets
• Heavy use of kitchens 
• Messy family members

Here’s another great article about a frequently-asked (and very important) home cleaning issue: Understand Who You Hire to Clean.

• The people doing the work must have the knowledge to identify the types of carpet or upholstery material they will be cleaning.

• They should also know the limitations and requirements to clean each type correctly and have the experience required to insure the carpet or upholstery does not get damaged during cleaning.

• They need to spend the time required to do the job correctly and use top quality products and equipment. (Like the ones listed in the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal Of Approval Testing and Certification program for carpet cleaning solutions, vacuumscleaning systems, and Service Providers - ed.)

• All businesses are “For Profit”! When companies use low prices to get your business, realize that to stay in business, they are going to make a profit. Therefore, they are forced to reduce the quality of proper cleaning through one or all of the following.

1) They allocate less time for the job, which forces the cleaning crew to rush and not properly clean your fabrics.

2) They use inexpensive cleaning products and equipment to reduce the cost which prevents optimum cleaning results.

3) They use inexperienced, under-paid labor who may not know how to properly use their equipment or how to deal with fabrics or challenges. If the technician does not properly understand how their equipment works, they can over-wet your carpets and create hidden damage that impacts its life. Also, when there are stains or the fabrics are non-traditional. If not addressed correctly, stains will remain and can become permanent. Finally, if the technicians do not understand the type of carpet or upholstery you have, they can actually damage it and make it look worse than when they started.

Great stuff! Anyone have anything to add?

~ Bethany  
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