Getting rid of that old carpet can be a huge relief. Maybe previous owners purchased it decades ago, or maybe years of kids and pets had stained it beyond repair. When it’s finally time to replace the flooring in a home, old carpeting is usually one of the first things to go. But what should be done once it’s been torn out? Should the old rugs just be put beside the road to be collected with the trash?
The recycling of carpeting has grown in popularity in recent years. This helps divert hundreds of millions of the 5 billion pounds of carpeting and padding that end up in American landfills each year. The diverted materials are turned into new padding or recycled composite building materials.
Check with local facilities, but most places will accept both the carpet and the padding. Be aware that recycling may not be available in all areas, and there may be a small fee per pound at processing facilities. However, the company who is installing the new flooring may remove and recycle old carpeting at no additional charge. Just be sure to ask in advance so the contractors can take care not to get the padding wet, as it is much harder to recycle if it is damp.
One group, Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), is helping to raise awareness and make it easier to recycle old rugs. They are working to expand the availability of recycling and to reduce any costs that are passed on to the consumer.
As environmental consciousness expands and people seek to reduce their ecological footprint, carpet recycling will likely continue to grow in popularity, as will the rise of more sustainable materials being used in the creation of flooring and rugs, like eco-friendly bamboo flooring.