Recycle, Recover and Reuse
Turning carpet into new products
The carpet industry is concerned about the amount of old carpet that ends up in landfills each year. Carpet manufacturers are voluntarily addressing this problem by recycling old carpet materials back into carpet production, recycling old carpet into alternative uses such as building materials and auto parts, refurbishing old carpet into new carpet tiles and even reclaiming old carpet so it can be reused or recycled.
In addition, through the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), carpet companies, government entities and product suppliers are working to develop market-based solutions for the recycling and use of post-consumer carpet.
Industrial waste: Although more efficient manufacturing is reducing excess carpet waste, such as selvedges, trimmings and shearings, the industry has found creative uses for carpet by-products, such as carpet trim and yarn scraps, to avoid the use of local landfills. The following are some examples of how CRI members are recycling their carpet products:
Post-consumer carpet: Because collecting, sorting and transporting used carpet is such a huge challenge, the tasks are being addressed by carpet and fiber companies and individual entrepreneurs. Several companies have collection sites in place and are developing means to separate carpet components and recover polymers. The industry is working towards recycling fiber back into fiber and turning Nylon 6 into new fiber. Some companies are refurbishing used carpet modules. Currently, billions of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic beverage bottles each year are used to make polyester carpet fibers.
To address the challenges of post-consumer recycling, CRI has a committee of member representatives to rally industry expertise and resources. The committee’s work includes developing an identification system of carpet materials to make the sorting of fiber and backing compounds much easier and more efficient in the future. Many of the CRI member companies as well as many entrepreneurs around the country are currently using this identification system, called the Carpet Component Identification Code (CCIC).
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