Collaborating to recycle carpet
What happens to old carpet that is removed during renovations or remodels? Here in Washington, we’ve made important strides to increase carpet recycling. Yet many challenges remain, and most old carpet continues to be disposed of as garbage. By one estimate, more than 100,000 tons of carpet were disposed in landfills or incinerators in 2012. That’s why Zero Waste Washington is partnering with Seattle Public Utilities and King County LinkUp to increase carpet recycling throughout Washington.
More carpet recycling means less waste, more recovered materials for use in new products, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Much carpet contains nylon or polyethylene face fibers, which are petroleum based. When carpet isn’t recycled, the materials and embedded energy are lost. Recycling one ton of used carpet reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 4,900 to 5,200 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent. And carpet fiber can be recycled into new carpet, carpet backing, automotive parts, and more.
The heart of this project involves growing a diverse coalition to work together on joint strategies for carpet recycling. Last autumn, we co-hosted a webinar to share new developments that are happening locally and around the country. Now, we’re gathering information through an on-line survey and in-depth interviews with more than 20 people involved with recycling carpet in Washington, including carpet retailers, property managers, carpet installers, haulers, and recyclers. As we talk with these knowledgeable and innovative people, we’re hearing about barriers, opportunities, and ideas for increasing carpet recycling. Later in 2014, we plan to share what we’ve learned and convene meetings of diverse individuals to thoughtfully tackle the challenges and consider what we can make happen together.
Thanks to the Bullitt Foundation for providing grant funding for Zero Waste Washington’s participation in this important collaborate effort.
Last Updated (Friday, 21 February 2014 14:36)