Recycled carpeting and its environmental benefits being the focus of
corporate citizens and major manufacturers, the carpet and rug industry is
showing it does far more than just cover our floors. The industry proactively
addresses key issues in order to promote a healthy environment and provide a
better future. Recent environmental issues, such as indoor air quality and
overburdening landfill space, are of particular significance.
Recycled carpeting is a way the carpet and rug industry is committed to
improving both the indoor and outdoor environments through ongoing stewardship
initiatives. These initiatives include:
- Producing responsible products
- Improving manufacturing efficiency via environmentally responsible
- Reducing, reusing or recycling industrial waste and post-consumer carpet
Recycled carpeting is just one way the industry is demonstrating its
willingness and equally dedicated spirit to promoting open communication with
the general public on all issues. To this end, The Carpet and Rug Institute,
representing all segments of the industry, has compiled this report on industry
endeavors currently being undertaken to improve and sustain our environment.
Manufacturing’s Environmental Role
Carpet manufacturers are striving to minimize the quantities of natural and
energy resources used in day-to-day operations. They are reducing waste reusing
and recycling raw materials, packaging materials, waste, and by-products.
Individual companies are pursuing environmental efforts at different points
in the manufacturing process. Many of the following efforts are industry-wide,
but some are small pilot programs.
Advanced monitoring systems and processes in the mills help conserve water,
electricity, and other fuels. As an example, new developments in dyeing
techniques require less water. Dye materials are removed from waste water; the
waste water is monitored, reprocessed, and then reintroduced into the
New systems recycle thermal energy, capturing, condensing, and then
re-heating the water for use in the finishing of carpet. Oil waste is sold to
recycling companies or is used as boiler fuel.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Waste disposal has become as issue of increasing concern worldwide. As
responsible corporate citizens, the carpet and rug industry recognizes the need
to continue to minimize the effect of industrial waste and post-consumer carpet
products on existing landfills:
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. Individual companies are engaged in recycling efforts,
including the following:
- Fiber and yarn that cannot be reused in manufacturing is often sent to
yarn vendors that sell yarn for crafts and other end uses.
- Excess carpet is cut into mats and sold.
- Waste carpet trimmings, backing, and yarn often are sold to recycling
plants to be processed into such things as carpet cushion, furniture battings
and cushions, concrete filler, fence posts, road underlayment, parking stops,
plastic lumber, and automotive parts.
- Polyethylene packaging, used to wrap carpet rolls, is converted into
plastic wrap or plastic trash bags, or is used in molded automotive parts.
- Other materials used in the manufacturing process, such as cardboard,
paper, aluminum, wooden pallets, fuel drums, batteries, yarn cones, roll
cores, liquid containers, raw material packaging, and scrap metal are either
reused or recycled.
Because the collection, sorting, and transporting of used carpet is such a
mammoth 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 toward recycling these materials into new carpet fiber. Some
companies are refurbishing used carpet modules. Currently, plastic beverage
bottles are being used to make polyester carpet fibers.
To address the challenges of post-consumer recycling, The Carpet and Rug
Institute has assembled a committee of member representatives to rally industry
expertise and resources. The committee will work toward perfecting an
identification system of carpet materials, to make the sorting of fiber and
backing compounds in the future much easier and more efficient. The committee
also will share technology that will accelerate the recycling of used carpet
back into raw materials and the development of a "closed loop" recycling system.
These efforts present exciting possibilities for the future.