Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions we receive. We're a transparent company, so we've also addressed some of the things we want to improve upon ourselves.
What technology is in your products to make them biodegrade at an accelerated rate?
It's not some secret we want to keep hidden from our competition. We feel the entire flooring industry needs this technology. It's called Floors 2 Fuel (F2F).
What is F2F and how does it work?
Hope you paid attention in chemistry class.....F2F is an organic additive that enhances the biodegradation process through a series of chemical and biological processes when disposed of in a biologically active landfill. When placed in a biologically active landfill, the ingredients in F2F allow for the formation of a coating (called “biofilm ,”) on the surface of the plastic. The biofilm is made up of microbes which penetrate the plastic, while other ingredients in F2F work together to expand the molecular structure, in turn making room for more microbes. The microbes then send out chemical signals (their way of communicating) in order to attract additional microbes to the site. Once all of the microbes have been assembled, they collectively feast on the polymer chains, thus breaking down the chemical bonds of the plastic product at an accelerated rate.
Do your products have a limited durability/lifespan? Will it begin to biodegrade in my property?
No. For the product to break down it needs to attract oleophilic bacteria (oil-eating bacteria) that are present in landfills. The active microbes indoors or in commercial settings are not oleophilic and not the “super” colony microbes you find in landfills, composting sites or waste water sludge plants. All of our products undergo extremely stringent testing to ensure performance in commercial environments and offer industry standard warranties.
Is F2F a topical treatment that can wear off?
No. The additive is extruded with the nylon polymer we use to create our yarn. The F2F is inherent for the life of the product.
Do all of your products offer enhanced biodegradation?
Yes, but to only an extent. Not all of our raw materials contain F2F at this time. We're currently working through R&D now to integrate F2F into our hard surface wear layer and films along with the primary and secondary backing of our carpet. Key takeaway here - We're pushing the ball forward - and what we've got now is way better than where we've been...but not as good as where we're going.
Wait, what about Recycling?
Please recycle, we encourage it! Our flooring with F2F can be recycled - the hard truth is that every product eventually has an end of life whether it's recycled or not. Unfortunately, the data shows less than 6% of flooring actually gets recycled.
Is your flooring made from oxo-degradable plastic?
No. Oxo-degradable plastics require oxygen and UV light or heat to initiate degradation and thus will not biodegrade in landfills. Our products do not require either UV light or oxygen to biodegrade and will biodegrade at any depth in landfills. Oxo-degradable plastics break down into smaller components called 'microplastics' and are actually terrible for the environment.
How long does it take for your flooring to biodegrade in landfills?
This isn't an easy one to answer - biodegradation is not a linear process. It can speed up and slow down based on a number of factors. For reference however, based on ASTM D5511 testing - our carpet fiber shows to have broken down 23.04% in 90 days (almost 1/4 gone in just 3 months). This will depend on the conditions of the landfill and the thickness and composition of the flooring. The average landfill is a very good environment for biodegradation because it is warm, moist, and full of soil micro-organisms and food waste that cause the micro-organisms to eat the plastic. We're confident in saying that typical synthetic flooring lasts hundreds to thousands of years - Forth Surfaces flooring with F2F will disappear well within our lifetime.
Are you vertically integrated? Do you own all of your own production equipment?
Nope and nope. The world's a different place than it was 30, 10, even 5 years ago. Our business is built on making a bigger impact with a smaller footprint. We don't think the world needs more factories, we've got plenty of them already. With the increase in demand for hard surface flooring, the excess capacity of carpet mills has become even more excessive. Our passion is service and creating design-driven products. We've partnered with the top yarn suppliers, have access to all of the finest machinery and technology, and work with the best suppliers in the industry to provide our customers with the best product and best experience possible.