“We’re not comfortable with the status quo—in this case that less than 5 percent of carpet waste is recycled,” says Aquafil CEO Giulio Bonazzi. “We know [carpet] waste can be powerful with the proper technology.”
According to California’s 2014 Waste Characterization Study, over 570,000 tons of carpet was discarded in California. It is bulky and difficult to manage, and has the fourth largest greenhouse gas footprint of any product waste in California. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, every year 4 billion pounds of carpet are discarded in the U.S. and only about 1 percent is recycled.
Carpet Stewardship – California is the First in the World
In 2010, CPSC worked with carpet manufacturers, recyclers, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), and Assembly Speaker John Perez to pass the first product stewardship legislation to support the recycling of waste carpet, AB 2398. This legislation was not entirely successful, so warranted a new bill, AB 1158 sponsored by our national affiliate the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), to fix some issues. AB 1158 was signed by Governor Brown on October 14th, 2017.
- CalRecycle’s Appointed Carpet Recycling Advisory Committee 12-22-17
- Draft Carpet Stewardship Plan for 2018-2022 submitted by CARE for public review
- Public Agenda California Carpet Stewardship Advisory Committee 1-23-18 and Supporting Agenda Documents
Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)
CARE is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet. CARE administers the California Carpet Stewardship Program, which is charged with meeting the requirements for carpet recycling set by AB 2398 and managed by CalRecycle. CARE works to advance market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet, encourage design for recyclability and meet meaningful goals. However, CARE’s 2017-2021 California Carpet Stewardship Program has been rejected by CalRecycle many times for not meeting statutory requirements, resulting in over $3 million in fines, which cannot be paid with consumer money, as required by AB 1158.
However, CARE has not been making significant progress to increase recycling and CalRecycle has submitted an accusation and a possible fine of over $3 million for failure to meet the legislated standard of continuous and meaningful improvement. On December 19, 2017, CalRecycle concluded that CARE’s Annual Report for 2016 failed to demonstrate compliance with the carpet law, even after the Department found CARE non-compliant in 2014, 2015, 2016 and had requested CARE to implement changes.
Recycled Carpet Products and Market Development
There are many products on the market that use recycled carpet materials in their production. Here are some examples of companies leading the market in creating products that improve the market for carpet recycling.
Aquafil manufactures nylon from post-consumer recycled materials in their Eco-nyl product, used in many eco-fashion oriented products
DSM-Niaga creates fully recyclable carpet using their new glue technology
Interface Carpet manufacturers incorporate sustainability into their business and product design for carpet
Fiberon Composite decking uses post-consumer wood and plastic in their production process
- SafePath and Sierra Rubber Products use recycled carpet and tires in their manufacturing process
- If you know of other examples, please share with us! email@example.com
Articles & Press
- Carpet recycling increases much needed landfill space – American Recycler, 12/1/17
- Interface Lauds California Carpet Recycling Bill, Textile World, 10/17/17
- Remove It and Roll It Up: How to Recycle Carpeting – The Californian, 10/14/17
- UPDATE: Gov. Brown signs bill to update California’s carpet recycling program – WasteDive, 10/14/17
- Dont forget about carpets in climate change fight , The Sacramento Bee, 10/16/17
- NSAC Press Release Governor Signs AB 1158 , 10/14/17
- resource-recycling.com-Lawmakers approve carpet stewardship reforms – Resource Recycling, 9/26/17
- Carpet recycling measure gains ground in California – Construction & Demolition Recycling, 9/22/17
- California legislature approves carpet stewardship bill to update struggling state program – Waste Dive, 9/19/17
- Planet Recycling Receives CPSC Bow and Arrow Award – CPSC Press Release, 8/2017
- Swept Under the Rug: After Forming California’s Carpet Recycling Program, Industry Prevents it from Spreading Nation Wide – Sacramento News & Review, 7/20/17
- Can activist investors encourage better carpet recycling?– Green Biz, 7/20/17
- California Carpet Controversy: CalRecycle Hearing Tomorrow to Examine Carpet Industry Accountability – GAIA 4/17/17
- CARE Launches California Council on Carpet Recycling: 18-Member Advisory Group to Give Voice to Diverse Stakeholders – CARE Press Release, 2/11/16
- Shaw Industries Receives CPSC Golden Arrow Award – CPSC Press Release, 8/8/2012
- Eliminating Toxics in Carpet: Lessons for the Future of Recycling – Healthy Building Network, October 2017
- Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Report – The CAREless Carpet Industry: A Critique of the California Carpet Stewardship Program’s Reliance on Incineration, April 2017
- Carpet Recycling Survey Results – King County, 5/17/2011
- Environmental Impact of Carpet Discards – Dr. Jeffrey Morris, Seattle Public Utilities, 4/26/2010