Rubber tiles in the retail sector
Cartri was looking for quality and circularity, at a competitive price
In just 20 years Cartri has become one of the most important players in the Belgian garden-centre market. And since 2013, Granuflex has supplied the company with rubber products. “Their recycling credentials immediately appealed to us,” says Cartri director Gert Peeters.
The rubber hobby tile
Located in the Belgian town of Lint, Cartri’s spacious garden centre covers some 20,000 square metres and offers everything that a gardener’s heart could desire. One of the rubber products that Granuflex supplies to Cartri is the rubber hobby tile. These tiles are often seen in playgrounds.
“Our recycling background clearly struck a note with them from the very beginning,” says Edwin Kuiper, sales and marketing manager at Granuflex. “All the wood that they sell is FSC certified, so the fact that they would also be able to sell sustainable hobby tiles from that moment on was an added bonus.”
According to Kuiper, in addition to playgrounds there are now more and more applications for rubber hobby tiles. “They are often used to surface garden walkways, for example, or on flat roofs or terraces, and even as washing machine mats.”
Durable rubber in tune with the Cartri philosophy
Cartri director Gert Peeters agrees that Cartri and Granuflex hit it off immediately. “We are a key player in the garden market and rubber tiles are a great fit with garden wood,” he reasons. “In the past we procured them from a dubious importer from China. It was impossible to establish the waste streams from which they were produced or the chemical constituents of the rubber. When the price of these Chinese tiles rose sharply we made a conscious decision to source locally produced hobby tiles. This now ties in much better with the wood that we sell, which is sourced from Europe. Until a few years ago this was incongruous with the rubber products we offered. Our collaboration with Granuflex is much more in tune with our philosophy and it’s an added advantage that the chemistry between us is so good.”
Our collaboration with Granuflex is more in tune with the Cartri philosophy than doing business with overseas partners
High quality rubber tiles, at a competitive price
While conceding that price was the initial driver for doing business with Granuflex, Peeters now sees the quality of the product to be the most important. “Everything is well organised, because Granuband recycles the automotive tyres itself and makes new rubber products from the secondary raw materials,” reasons Peeters. “Granuband has everything under control and is able to demonstrate this with the relevant documents. I sometimes jest that we share the same blood type: we’re both small-to-medium-sized companies; we both put quality first; and we are on the same communicate wavelength. When I call, I get an answer straight away. And from everyone, not just when I call Edwin. It’s obvious that Granuband spends a lot of time training its people.”
Epitome of circularity
Kuiper appreciates the complimentary sentiments and confirms the short lines of communication between their two organisations. He also points out that municipalities, for example, would have much to gain if they were to surface their playgrounds with rubber tiles. “A municipality has a waste stream of disposed-of automotive tyres that can typically be reused within the municipality. Now if that’s not the epitome of circularity, I don’t know what is!”