"Recycling is not enough"
"We want to give our products a second life after use," says Bernhard ter Hürne, CEO of ter Hürne GmbH & Co. KG. The company, based in Südlohn, is one of the largest parquet manufacturers in Germany and is considered an industry leader in innovation.17 Aug 2023
"We want to give our products a second life after use," says Bernhard ter Hürne, CEO of ter Hürne GmbH & Co. KG. The company, based in Südlohn, is one of the largest parquet manufacturers in Germany and is considered an industry leader in innovation. When ter Hürne speaks of a "second life" for their products, he doesn't mean, as many would likely assume, recycling, but rather re-manufacturing. "Recycling is certainly good and right, but actually not enough," ter Hürne explains.
In recycling, raw materials are recovered from the original product and used to manufacture new products. However, this process involves a high energy expenditure. Ter Hürne states, "Recycling is important, but it doesn't fully meet a 100% sustainability standard."
Re-manufacturing works differently. The used product isn't disassembled into its individual raw materials; instead, it is refurbished as a whole. The product design and properties are restored, allowing the product to be used again. The benefits are clear: waste reduction and minimal additional energy consumption.
"That's why we're focusing more on the repurchase of used flooring from our customers in the future. The products are refurbished and reintroduced into the cycle," explains Bernhard ter Hürne. "Our vision is that our customers can easily trace where they purchased their parquet even decades later. If they want to replace their floor, we'll buy back the old floor and give it a new life. That's genuine circular economy, especially applicable to parquet floors."
Ter Hürne is also fully committed to sustainability in product development. An example is the Hywood floors introduced at DOMOTEX 2023, which are made using a substance called wood powder. Under high pressure and heat, the "wood powder" fuses with the real wood top and bottom layers to create an extremely durable, water-resistant floor. The floor is 99% real wood and is simultaneously more durable and resilient than traditional parquet or vinyl floors.
"We're particularly proud that this product is designed with the consumer in mind," says Bernhard ter Hürne. "Our customers want a genuine wooden floor that brings nature and indoor health into their homes, while still being able to withstand a lot and remain beautiful in the long run. And if the consumer does want to replace the floor, ter Hürne turns old Hywood into new Hywood. It can hardly get more sustainable than that."