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The Problem

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 – 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 product stewardship legislation to support the recycling of waste carpet. The result was AB 2398, which created new manufacturing jobs in California. The number of carpet recyclers in California increased from two to sixteen, reducing the need to put carpet in landfills. In Southern California, around 36 percent of carpet is now collected for recycling. 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.

New legislation (AB 1158) for recycling carpet in California has been introduced and is working its way through the California Legislature.

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)care_logo_2c_rgb

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 twice for not meeting statutory requirements. A new plan must be submitted for 2018-2022 by October 19, 2017.

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