The Ugly Truth About Carpet Disposal & What You Can Do About It
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Carpeting is a very common choice for home and commercial flooring because of it's texture, variety, and comfortability. However, if we want to keep living comfortably for the foreseeable future, then we must prioritize making design decisions with sustainability in mind. Our population is growing exponentially, and as a result, so is the mass of waste we create. We need to consider the large manufacturing, purchasing, and disposal choices and do what we can to reduce the amount of man-made waste going to landfills.
On average we send 4 billion pounds of carpet to landfills each year in America. This is an astonishing amount because most carpet is comprised of several chemical and plastic layers and does not break down.... ever.
It's bulky nature makes it exceptionally problematic. Carpet makes up about 2% of solid waste by volume!!
About half of all carpet made in America is made out of various PVC's and PET's, meaning it is not recyclable and it's very harmful to indoor air quality and the environment. It's also extremely toxic when incinerated. A large portion of carpet manufactured here is made of Nylon 6. Nylon 6 is actually fully recyclable and has the potential to continue a fully closed loop life cycle and be recycled into new carpet over and over. However just because it CAN be recycled doesn't mean that it IS being recycled at large. Most of it still gets sent to landfill because of lack of consumer awareness and scarcity of take-back partners.
In the early 2000's the carpet industry formed an organization called the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), intended to work towards goals for reusing and recycling carpet.
We as consumers can actually make a large impact and greatly reduce the volume of carpet that goes to waste, by simply making a few considerations in the carpet buying or removing process.
Ask the supplier if they will recycle your old carpet for you.
Tell your supplier that you specifically want carpet options that are made of recycled materials or are able to be recycled after use.
Ask the supplier if they participate in recyclable carpet take-back programs.
Take your carpet to a facility that will recycle it for you.
Utilize as much of the carpet purchased as possible by turning remnants into area rugs, runners, doormats, etc.
Donate carpet you will not use to businesses or charities that could use it (Habitat for Humanity REStore)
Extend the life of the carpet you have by cleaning it regularly and using throw rugs to reduce dirt, wear and tear.
Consider carpet tiles instead of broadloom so that it's easier to replace only the damaged tiles as opposed to removal of the entire floor covering.
Consider natural fibered carpet instead of synthetics as they have much less environmental impact and are more biodegradable.
If your rugs get damaged, have them repaired instead of replacing them.
At Creative Edge we care deeply about environmental sustainability, and we are so proud to provide a local service that helps reduce waste in the community by recycling and repairing rugs and carpeting, turning the small leftover remnants useful rugs AND eliminating the need to purchase new manufactured rugs.
We continue to work with local carpet suppliers and installers to try to prevent any carpet waste. We are also currently on a deep investigation to find nearby take-back facilities and other ways to recycle, upcycle, and reuse carpeting and rugs.
We want to encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the best practices regarding your carpet purchase and disposal.
If you have remnants leftover, we would love to help you maximize the value and create custom rugs out of them.
In the event that you don't wish to have rugs made, we ask that you do all that you can to not let them go to waste. We will gladly take any new or unused pieces of carpeting off your hands at no cost and make sure they are recycled or upcycled.
Unfortunately we are unable to recycle any carpet that has been previously installed and used.
And please, share this information with a friend or a neighbor!
Even the smallest of choices and actions we make can make a large impact on the world around us, especially if we share the knowledge and ideas along the way.
Like us on Facebook and follow on Instagram to see examples of how we are helping reduce carpet waste in Northeast Florida!