CARE releases annual recycling report

May 15, 2017

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 2.11.10 PMIndianapolis—Members participating in the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) program diverted more than 488 million pounds of carpet from U.S. landfills in 2016—down nearly 6% from 2015. That’s according to the group’s annual report, released at CARE’s 15th annual conference held here earlier this month.

Of the carpet diverted to recycling, 167 million pounds were recycled into carpet and other consumer products, 174 million pounds were sent back to the landfill, and 144 million pounds were sent to waste-to-energy and cement kilns.

Despite the impressive numbers, 2016 was a challenging year for CARE in terms of marketplace activity and demand for various fiber types. “Data shows the carpet recycling industry is under mounting stress,” said Dr. Robert Peoples, executive director. “Until oil returns to greater than $70 per barrel, we see continuing turbulent times ahead.”

Other highlights of the report: 72% of recycled post-consumer carpet is manufactured into plastics. This category has grown over the past few years. The amount of material recycled in carpet fiber dropped from 13% to 3%. Carpet backing remained constant at 8% of end products manufactured. Meanwhile, 11% of recycled post-consumer carpet pounds that were recycled went into new carpet. This is considered a true cradle-to-cradle process.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 2.11.14 PMCarpet recycling employed 1,215 people in 2016. This is a decrease of 80 people or 6% vs. the jobs reported in 2015. To date, CARE members have kept over 4.6 billion pounds of waste carpet out of landfills since CARE was founded in 2002.

CARE continues to refine its survey methodology. It began using a mass balance approach in 2013. This methodology focuses material flows by examining inputs and outputs in each step of the recycling process.

CARE is a voluntary, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the landfill diversion, reuse and recycling of waste carpet, through market-based solutions that benefit the economy as well as the environment at large.

For more information about CARE, visit carpetrecovery.org.

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