A report released in October 2018 by Ecology Center, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Changing Markets Foundation identified the presence of toxic substances in all 12 of the carpets tested that were produced and sold by the nation’s largest carpet manufacturers.
While the environmental and human health concerns surrounding carpet recycling and disposal are paramount, another key issue facing the recycling of carpet is the cost effectiveness for recycling facilities, as well as the overall difficulty of recycling carpet.
Raw nylon is expensive so recycling it is a profitable option, especially considering the amount of products it can be used for, such as carpet tiles, insulation, carpet padding, other flooring materials, and various fabrics.
Polyester carpet recycling also faces competition from water bottle recycling, which provides a high volume of post-consumer polyester to recyclers at a low cost.
“These natural rugs are also not coated with stain guard and other chemicals that are a concern for consumers but instead are naturally stain resistant.” CARE is a nonprofit organization working to develop the infrastructure needed to recycle carpet efficiently across the U.S. In 2011 CARE was named the California Carpet Stewardship Organization.
Recovered carpet can be used to manufacture new carpet fiber, building and construction materials and products for the consumer and automotive industries, among other uses.
So what does the future hold for carpet recycling initiatives across the U.S.? “New regulations surrounding carpet recycling have been put into place and more could be on the way,” Killoran said.