California’s carpet recycling rate soars

Home Categories Carpet California's carpet recycling rate soars

care america recovery effort logoDalton—At a time of immense strain on recycling efforts across the country, carpet recycling in California saw significant progress in 2019, according to the just-released California Carpet Stewardship Program 2019 Annual Report.

While California’s overall materials recycling rate has been on the decline since 2014, the state’s carpet recycling rate is up 58% in the same period. In addition, CARE’s prompt and multi-faceted COVID-19 Action Plan has provided critical support to the industry as it faces the economic and operational challenges of 2020.

“2019 was a banner year for the carpet recycling industry in California,” said Bob Peoples, CARE executive director. “Rising recycling rates, exciting technological innovations such as chemical recycling, growing markets and improved efficiency led to our most optimistic outlook in years. We are facing the challenges of 2020 with new determination and see encouraging signs. We actually did better in the second quarter–during maximum shelter-in-place orders–and now believe we are moving in the right direction for the second half of 2020. Feedback from the recycling community indicates the COVID-19 Action Plan has made a major difference in cash flow and their ability to continue to operate.”

According to the California Carpet Stewardship Program’s 2019 Annual Report:

  • The overall 2019 California recycling rate was 19%, up 27% from 2018. The national carpet recycling rate was 5%.
  • 82 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was collected before it could go to landfill.
  • 58 million pounds of recycled output was produced (up 18% from 2018).
  • Over 70% of all carpet collected was recycled, up from 53% in 2018.

The 70% recycling rate, or yield, has grown significantly over the life of the program due to investments in product testing and processing capacity, growth in markets for post-consumer carpet materials and various technological advances.

Through subsidies, grants and technical assistance, CARE supports increased collection and processing of carpet into products containing recycled carpet material. Twenty-five vendors currently incorporate carpet in 77 products for the automotive, construction and other industries.

Extensive COVID-19 Action Plan preserves recyclers

Beginning in March 2020, CARE’s oversight committee approved a series of emergency actions to support and assist the California carpet recycling industry as effects of the pandemic threatened the industry’s survival. Actions included extraordinary payments to recyclers in March and June, along with increased subsidy payments to recyclers, an accelerated payment schedule and relaxed reporting and proposed loan payment requirements.

A total of $1.6 million has been provided to 15 recyclers, easing the pressure and allowing businesses to focus core efforts around collection and processing.

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