Mitsubishi Motors has announced a new kind of eco-friendly mat to be used in cars this year. The company is known for a high quality line of plant-based floor mats, and this new product is set to inspire companies to rethink what it means to “Go Green” during the manufacturing of car mats. What does this technology mean to the commercial floor mats industry? Are matting manufacturers outside of the car industry ready to adopt this new eco-friendly technology?
The editors of the Eagle Mat Blog are proud to present readers with this exclusive look at bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) fiber, a revolutionary new plant-based material that could be the future of eco-friendly floor mats.
Mitsubishi and Eidaikako Co. Lead the Way
Our story begins with Mitsubishi Motors. The Japanese multinational conglomerate was first founded in 1870, taking the stage as one of Japan’s largest shipping companies. Through diversification and a forward-thinking business philosophy, Mitsubishi was able to effectively acquire the expertise of their shipping partners and expand upon their own business operations. Before long, the company was heavily invested in banking, warehousing, insurance, and manufacturing. The company earned wild success from their philosophy of exploring new business avenues, which has undoubtedly created a current company culture where the pursuit of new technologies is not only commonplace, but also expected.
Fast forward to 2011 and we find yet another forward-thinking partnership forming between Mitsubishi Motors and a company of a peripheral industry: Eidaikako Co. Together, the companies embarked on an adventure to find an eco-friendly matting solution for vehicles. The venture has resulted in the development of bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) fiber, an all-natural plant-based resin made from sugar cane molasses. The material is proven to reduce environmental impact in at least two ways. First, it reduces the use of petroleum-based plastics during the manufacturing process. Second, the manufacture of the plant-based resin also reduces carbon emissions. The material is said to live up to the performance standards required of car floor mats, particularly heat resistance and abrasion.
Most excitingly, however, is the notion that bio-PE could hypothetically replace the use of plastics during the manufacture of most industrial products, including commercial entrance mats.
The Future of Eco-Friendly Entrance Mats
Currently, eco-friendly entrance mats are made of a variety of different materials. These materials each reduce environmental impact through conserving materials during their manufacture, reducing carbon emissions, or re-purposing post-consumer items into new goods (i.e. recycled materials). To illustrate, consider the following eco-friendly commercial matting products and the materials of which they are made:
1. Waterhog floor mats: Waterhog has an exclusive line of entrance mats and runners made of 100% recycled PET plastics. These plastics are gathered from post-consumer materials, like water bottles, and repurposed into highly effective safety matting products. This process has a twofold reduction on environmental impact: The reduction of waste products and the recycling of post-consumer goods.
2. Rubber Scraper ECO Mat: This popular outdoor entrance mat is made entirely of recycled commercial-grade rubber. Like the usage of PET plastics above, manufacturing an outdoor rubber mat with 100% recycled materials reduces environmental impact by decreasing the amount of rubber that is discarded by end-users as “waste.”
Will bio-PE eventually work its way into the commercial matting industry? Only time will tell, as Mitsubishi plans to release their new line of eco-friendly floor mats in the summer of 2012. The rate at which the plant-based resin is adopted by other industries is likely to depend on how well it is received by auto companies and customers in the coming year.
Eco-Friendly Matting Consultation
Whether you’re a LEED certified project or simply a small business owner looking for a sustainable entrance mat, the Eagle Mat Customer Service team is here to help! With over 30 years experience in the commercial matting industry, our sales professionals are standing by to answer your questions and assist in product selection.
Readers are invited to contact Eagle Mat online, or call our offices toll free 1-877-333-1018.