Housing association launches recycled office-flooring scheme

A housing association has launched an innovative new recycled flooring scheme, which will see carpets tiles saved from landfill, refurbished and then offered to tenants at no cost.

Melville Housing Association say they believe it to be the first project of its kind in the country, and is designed to ‘improve the lives of hard-pressed tenants while at the same time helping the environment’.

The carpet tiles given to tenants are only sourced from office blocks which are undergoing refurbishment work, and the tiles have to be in good condition – with the tiles still being reconditioned before being laid.

One tenant to have already benefited as part of the pilot programme is Andrew Hiddleston, who lives in a Melville house in Poltonhall. He said, “I got some carpet tiles for my living room and I’m delighted with how they look. I’m so pleased with them that I’m now hoping to get my hall done as well.

“I think the whole project is a brilliant idea and I’m proud to have been part of it. Carpets aren’t cheap and there are a lot of tenants like me who would struggle to find the money for even basic flooring. I’m really grateful to Melville and everyone else who helped make it happen.”

Zero Waste Scotland, Beyond Green and Novus Property Solutions have all shown support for the project. If rolled out across Scotland, it is estimated that 22.5 tonnes of waste could be diverted from landfill each year.

The Circular Economy team at Zero Waste Scotland engaged with contractors to help source carpet tiles. For Melville, this secured a supply of suitable flooring to pass on to tenants, while diverting valuable materials away from landfill. The sustainable project has resonated with tenants with over 75% of those surveyed saying they would be interested in reusing carpet ties to floor their homes.

Louise McGregor, head of circular economy at Zero Waste Scotland, said, “Melville Housing Association has proved that in the face of a climate crisis, we all have the power to reduce waste and emissions through circular thinking.”

“The circular economy is not only about zero waste, it also delivers social benefits to the community. Melville’s project provides real value to their customers while helping to minimise damage to the environment at the same time. Housing associations are perfectly poised to introduce circular models in a range of services and our Circular Economy team is on hand to help.”

Morag MacDonald, Melville’s chief operating officer and project-lead, said, “This project has been driven by two factors,” explains Melville’s Chief Operating Officer and project-lead Morag MacDonald. “As an organisation we are actively reviewing how we can be more sustainable in our practices, and how in doing so we can benefit the communities we serve. This project is stopping good quality usable flooring going to landfill and at the same time is helping tenants make their homes warmer and more comfortable.

“We’re extremely grateful to our partner organisations for the support they have given to this project and we hope to deliver, in partnership with others in the sector, a successful project that marries up the tonnes of unwanted carpet tiles across Scotland with the hundreds of households in need of good quality, affordable flooring.”