The fact Carpet Plus has a video showing carpet recycling to the children is no accident. Charlottesville may be a relatively small community—approximate population of 41,000 with about 200,000 in the metropolitan statistical area—but Cassis said it is “fairly progressive in certain areas, such as the green movement.
“Our promotion of green products has been highly effective in drawing eco-conscious consumers to our store,” he explained. “People come just to investigate the environmentally friendly flooring options. Over the past few years we have established ourselves as a leader in the green movement by placing a strong emphasis on all eco- friendly products and practices. We recently added an element to our website, carpetplusonline .com/eco—Nature’s Ingredients—with images from nature, each with an explanation of how each one is related to our various green products.”
Carpet Plus is also a dedicated member of the Charlottesville Green Building Committee and devotes time and energy to more than just selling green products and supporting green programs within the community. It actually initiates them.
An example is operating the only official cork recycling program in the area—Re-Cork C’Ville www.recorkcville.com. In what began as a simple quest to collect wine corks for a small project focusing on cork flooring, the company “stumbled across some disturbing information” about used corks: Of the almost 15 billion sold each year, the majority end up in landfills.
“Considering the large presence of both wine and sustainability in the area,” Cassis said, “we were shocked that a cork recycling program hadn’t already been established. We figured we had the resources within the company to start such a program, so why not do it ourselves?”
The concept is simple: local vineyards, restaurants and wine shops agree to display a custom- made collection box in their establishment—free of charge— and watch it fill up with both their own corks and that of local wine-drinkers. The boxes are emptied on a periodic basis and the collected corks are sent to a facility to be recycled.
“We want people to know that even if they drink a bottle per week or per month,” he explained, “as long as their natural corks aren’t going in the trash, they’re making a difference— and we’re making it easy for people to do their part in helping the environment.”
As of press time, Carpet Plus has signed up over 40 locations and has collected more than 40,000 cork stoppers.