Knowing the environmental issues around PVC, we took on the challenge of finding better alternatives. Over time, this mission led Carnegie to become the first, and still only, 100% PVC-free textile and wallcovering company. Let’s talk about what led us to this bold commitment.
During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Carnegie examined the issues with the most ubiquitous wallcovering material used in commercial buildings, PVC (polymerizing vinyl chloride) or vinyl. We discovered so many problems that few people at that time had really thought about.
PVC is a common component found in furniture, textiles and wallcoverings. Due to its rigidity, PVC requires plasticizers to soften it or make it more flexible for use. These harmful plasticizers can be released during use and in vinyl manufacturing, among other processes.
As we learned about the potential for the release of dioxin (a group of highly toxic chemical compounds that can be harmful to your health and the planet) during the PVC manufacturing and disposal process, we were convinced that we did not want PVC in our products. Carnegie committed early on, even at the expense of our business, to find a safer substitute.
Xorel Was the First Step
Our commitment to sustainability was a natural outgrowth of our development of Xorel in the late 1970’s and 80’s. The more we learned about this remarkable material: where it came from, and its small manufacturing footprint, the more committed we became to our environmental responsibility. By contrast, as we examined the issues with PVC, we realized that this material did not align with our business philosophy.
Xorel taught us to think more expansively. That development and production process proved we had the capacity and expertise to find an alternative - a better solution - to vinyl. We embraced our responsibility to our employees, our clients and the planet. We no longer just focused on design, color and technical specifications as we pursued solutions. Carnegie equally focused on sustainable material resourcing, impact in use and disposal issues.