Recycle Carpet - The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)

Sunday March 01, 2009
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The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is just what its name implies: an organization that promotes the reuse and recycling of all carpet waste on a national level. CARE was created in reponse of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a 2002 agreement that put the responsibility of carpet recycling in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), government organizations, and various members of the carpet industry. Under the MOU agreement, these groups vowed to increase carpet recycling by 40% within ten years.

The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) LogoCARE's sole purpose is to ensure that the goals set by MOU are met within the specified timeframe. As of 2003, approximately 5 billion pounds of carpet was being sent to the landfill. CARE has been able to divert a little more than 50 million pounds of this waste from the landfill and recycle it into new products.

Carpet waste can be used to make a wide range of products. Some of these include tile backer board, carpet cushion, composite lumber, roofing shingles and automotive parts. Studies show that products made with post-consumer carpet can actually last longer than products made with new materials. So in addition to helping the environment, you can also help your pocketbook by choosing recycled goods.

CARE strives to help the MOU achieve their objectives by making the information on carpet recycling more readily available for homeowners. At the end of the day, they feel that it's the homeowner's responsibility to make the eco-conscious decision to donate their old carpets to a reclamation center.

This has been difficult, considering that the carpet recycling process entails a fee. That's right, having your carpets recycled is not a free service; you actually have to pay a certain amount per every pound of carpet you donate. Of course, the cost could be as small as 5 cents and go up to 25 cents per pound. The cost of recycling carpet depends upon on your home region.

So why does it cost money to recycle carpet? Compared to other floor types, carpet construction can be complicated. Carpets consist of two main elements: face fiber and carpet backing. These elements can be made with a variety of materials, each which must be individually separated, broken down, and processed into a form that can be used to make new materials. The cost of picking up the old carpets from your home and putting them through this process requires quite a lot of energy, money and man hours.

CARE is changing the way we see old carpets by showing us that it's actually a resource and not waste. While it may entail a small cost, having your carpets recycled can help promote a more sustainable environment. Before you take your carpets to the nearby dump, you may want to consider the consequences. Those who are interested in having their carpets recycled can contact their local dealer for information.


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Is recycling Carpets a New Idea?
I think recycling carpets is logical. It seems like its a good idea. Is recycling carpets new idea? How long has this option been available? I would love to know how long people could have started recycling their carpets for until we actually started doing it. Anyone have any feedback?
April 16 2009
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