Bolon has in-house recycling facility to "build on heritage of the company"
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Bolon has its own in-house recycling facility to "build on the heritage of the company"

In the next movie in our Bolon at Heart video series, Michaela Ljungdahl explains why the flooring brand invested in a vinyl-recycling plant for its factory in Sweden.

Bolon was founded in 1949 by Nils-Erik Eklund, grandfather of current company directors Marie and Annica Eklund, who collected waste material from local factories to make rag rugs.

Today, the company makes woven flooring from polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as vinyl. This material can be recycled up to seven times, according to Bolon product sustainability coordinator Ljungdahl, so setting up a recycling facility was a logical step.

Bolon Jacquard loom
Bolon was founded in 1949 and is now best known for producing woven vinyl flooring

"Nils-Erik Eklund started the company by producing rugs with waste material, and we have built on that heritage by recycling all our internal waste at Bolon," she says in the movie, which Dezeen filmed for Bolon at the company's headquarters in Ulricehamn, southern Sweden.

"Today, all Bolon flooring collections are made of up to 33 per cent recycled materials."

Bolon recycling facility
Bolon makes flooring by weaving threads of PVC, a material that can be recycled up to seven times

The company invested in its own recycling plant in 2014, where it recycles offcuts from its internal production, as well as external waste from its PVC suppliers.

"By doing the recycling internally, we save virgin materials and also reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from transport," Ljungdahl explains.

Bolon recycling facility
Bolon invested in its own recycling centre at its factory in Ulricehamn to save virgin material and reduce carbon dioxide emissions

Bolon uses the recycled material to create the backing of its flooring, which the woven surface layer is bonded to.

Larger pieces of vinyl are gradually broken down into a fine powder through a series of stages. The powder is then heat-treated to adhere to the woven material to form the backing.

Bolon recycling facility
Waste PVC is shredded and ground down to a powder at Bolon's recycling plant

"The first step in the recycling process is a shredder, where big parts get cut into smaller parts," Ljungdahl explains.

"The smaller pieces then get ground into flakes and then these flakes will be turned into a powder. We use this powder to create the backing material of the flooring."

Bolon recycling facility
Bolon uses recycled PVC to make the backing for its woven flooring

Ljungdahl says that the company plans to increase the percentage of recycled material in its products by recycling waste PVC from other industries.

"For the future, we want to search for waste material from other companies and in other industries to increase the level of recycled material in the product," she says.

Bolon recycling facility
Bolon is aiming to increase how much it recycles by sourcing waste material from companies in other industries

This movie was produced by Dezeen for Bolon. It is the 11th video in a 12-part series exploring Bolon's history, design and technology.

Music is by Tobias Lindén of Fry Communications. Photography is courtesy of Bolon, unless otherwise stated.