In conversation with TRAKS co-founder Karie Soehardi
Towards the end of 2021 Tribe Home was one of the first rug companies in Australia to join the TRAKS program. TRAKS is Australia’s first rug recycling program, created by Textile Recyclers Australia and Karie Soehardi Consultancy, the program keeps textile waste from the industry out of landfill by transforming unwanted rugs into yarns that can be used to create new furnishings. Through this program Tribe Home is encouraging and incentivising our customers to rethink the end-of-life cycle of unwanted goods and encourage thoughtful disposal of their rugs.
Each Tribe Home rug is designed to last for many years, once that time comes to an end, we are raising awareness to consumers to return their beloved rug – or a rug from any other brand – to TRAKS to be recycled. In return, we will provide our customers with a credit to be put towards their next Tribe Home rug and help to preserve the craft of handmade rugs globally.
Recently, we spoke with TRAKS co-founder Karie Soehardi to learn more about how rugs and other textiles can be recycled in an effort to reduce landfill.
TH: Working in partnership with the Tribe Home and many others within the rug and textiles industry, what is the mission of the TRAKS program?
KS: TRAKS is on a mission to keep unwanted furnishing textiles out of landfill and utilised as recycled materials, reducing the use of virgin fibres and energy in our industry.
TH: What’s the process of recycling rugs and why is it important?
KS: Currently we have a process of rug recycling that entails the rugs being taken back, sorted into fibres - natural, synthetic, and mixed. They are then colour blocked - for example, blues, reds and so on - then shredded, cleaned, and spun back into new yarn for recycled furnishings.
It is important to find solutions as the rug and textile industry is one of the oldest and has a lot of waste when it comes to how we produce and sell our products - water and energy consumption, multiple samples, overstocks, damaged stocks, incorrect colour ranges etc. By being able to reuse the yarn in a new life cycle, our industry reduces the impact on our planet.
TH: How can our design industry help to improve and raise awareness for the program?
KS: The design industry can support programs, such as TRAKS, by educating their clients and network that there are options other than dumping rugs into landfill or council clean up. It is important that the rugs aren’t contaminated so that they can be processed accordingly.
Communicate through social media about the good work you are doing by recycling, and when a customer purchases a rug let them know that there are environmental options for their old, unwanted rugs at home.
Interior Designers who are specifying new rugs can also contact us if they are working on a refurbishment, this way we can utilise the recycling option as opposed to dumping - we as an industry know better.
Simply put, utilise the service - build the cost of recycling into the product itself, just as it is incorporated into white goods, which has become the norm for a buyer or specifier.
TH: How will the rugs we recycle be used in the future?
KS: This is just one pathway, and many new innovations are being created to combat the amount of textile waste. The rugs will have a new life in the form of recycled yarn for furnishings.
By making sure textile ‘waste’ becomes a resource, we will alleviate landfill and textiles will finally become part of the circular model.
Have an old rug you're needing to get rid of?
Contact us via email@example.com to discover how you can receive a credit towards your new Tribe Home rug when recycling with TRAKS.
To discover more about TRAKS, visit www.trakstextiles.com