That brand new, (hopefully) eco-friendly, carpet or wood flooring looks great in your home. Don’t sit back and enjoy it just yet. What are you going to do with the old carpet you just tore up? Sometimes the installation service will remove it for you for free. However, if you installed your new flooring, you’re stuck with the old carpet until it can be disposed.
You could probably throw the carpet in the trash. It’s the easy solution, but keep in mind that most of it’s made from plastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose, and contain toxic VOCs.
Kalev estimates that only about 10% of carpet that’s discarded ends up going to a recycle facility. They add, “Consumers and manufacturers can make a difference by carpet recycling – for every 250,000 square yards of carpet that is reclaimed, 1.1 million pounds are diverted from the landfills and 110,000 gallons of oil are saved.”
Sounds pretty good, right? The more carpet we recycle, the more resources we save. But you can’t just throw it in the glass or plastic recycle bin. Carpet needs to go to special recycle centers.
Where can you find a place to recycle carpet?
This part is kind of a bummer – not every state has a place to recycle carpet. You can check out this map put together by Carpet Recovery and see that about 10 states don’t have any carpet recycling facilities. While some states have at least one place, they aren’t convenient for everyone. Earth911 has a few locations not listed on Carpet Recovery’s site, but overall, carpet recycling is still gaining momentum.
Just because you don’t have a recycling facility near you doesn’t mean you should just chuck it in the trash. Find other uses for it around your home. Cut it up and make rugs for your entryways, laundry room or even outdoors on the patio.
If your carpet isn’t in rough shape, you could donate it to places like Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill. Just make sure to call prior to leaving it on their doorstep.
One other thing to note is that when you recycle your carpet, you also need to take the padding below it, too. When researching places near you that offer carpet recycling, be sure to ask if they also take padding. Some places only do one or the other because they require different machines.
Lastly, carpet recycling generally isn’t free. That being said it isn’t ridiculously expensive either. Prices will vary, and the recycle park near you will have more details. Even if it costs you a few bucks, recycling carpet is better than throwing it in the trash.
What does recycled carpet get turned into?
Recycled carpet often gets turned into nylon pellets, which is one of the most durable, reusable plastics. Here’s just a few things your old rug could get turned into:
- Car parts
- Composite decks
- Composite rail ties
- New eco-friendly carpet
Who knew that your 1973 burnt orange shag rug could get turned into new, eco-friendly car parts?
Although carpet recycling may cost you a little cash, it’s better for the environment and reduces the consumption of non-renewable resources.
Did you know that you could recycle your old carpet? Do you think it’s worthwhile to do? Share your thoughts with other Zing readers!