Members diverted 8 million pounds last year
by Matthew Spieler
Aurora, Colo.—Ever since the Fuse Allinace introduced its Ecollect initiative to help divert post-consumer carpet from landfills in 2008 its members have been increasingly doing their part. Last year, alone, members of the commercial contractor buying group diverted 8 million pounds of carpet waste from landfills bringing the group’s total to nearly 24 million pounds.
Ken Daniels, Fuse’s vice president, said, “Ecollect is a top priority for our member companies [as] most make some effort to divert material from landfills. They understand the various processes for reclaiming carpet products based on its economic and environmental impact and recommend the most effective and sustainable process for reclaiming material and diverting it from landfills around the country.”
In addition, he noted, “Every project has special requirements and our members seek the best options for diverting carpet waste from landfills. Many of our members use recyclers in the CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) network, but they also use a variety of methods to divert carpet waste from the landfills, such as reuse, donation and waste to energy.”
While most Fuse members make some effort to divert material from landfills, some, such as Flooring Resources Corp. (FRC) of Elk Grove Village, Ill., “live it,” noted George Spanske, president. “We are committed to recycling. We have very simple methods for the clients to prepare the material: Any mill, any carpet, any job…no project obligation. We even recycle on projects we are not awarded.”
As an added incentive to get people thinking about recycling and doing the “right thing,” he added, “we have changed the stigma of a charge—especially in these tight economic times. We recycle for free. What is better than free? Any costs that occur for our recycling program is well worth it, because we will be leaving the world in a better place.”
Molly Carlson, FRC’s marketing coordinator and LEED project administrator, added, “In addition to carpet, we collect any unused wall base and have worked out arrangements with vendors to return the unused material. Our goal is to eliminate waste at the end of every installation.”
To help reach that goal, she said FRC’s staff is trained to offer recycling services to customers, “especially if they know old carpet will be taken out prior to our installation,” and “we have come up with some checklists and literature we send to make their packaging of the material easier and make the pick-up process go smoothly. We are always trying to streamline things for them.”
The result is that in 2011, FRC diverted more than 1.4 million pounds of just carpet from landfills.
Once the material is collected, Spanske said the No. 1 goal is to re-purpose any usable flooring. “World Vision and Habitat for Humanity are two of the many charities where we donate carpet. We also donate cleaned carpet to local shelters and churches; additional requests come from the general contractor community where we supply many hundreds of yards for construct site trailers After that we will send products back to the carpet manufacturers.”
For more information on Fuse, call 407.574.6600. For about FRC’s diversion and recycling efforts, call 847.640.2401.