I have a carpet on each premise in my house. My readers write to me, that they also like to put this fluffy flooring everywhere. A lot of carpets are in use all over the USA. That means, a lot of carpets wear out and we throw them away. I’ve heard that it was possible to recycle an old carpet. So, I decided to look into this topic. And that’s what I’ve learned.
You should know that all old carpets can be recycled, no matter what material they are made from, synthetic or natural. To recycle your carpet, contact one of the local rug manufacturers or non-governmental organizations, like CARE. You should prepare your carpet for utilization. For that, clean it from nails and glue residue. Read further to know, why people refuse carpet recycling.
Is Carpet Classed as Recyclable?
Carpets are classed as products, which can be recycled. Recycling your rug is possible but so many people don’t do it. The reason is that the carpet recycling process is comparatively new. It was started just a decade and a half ago.
As of the early 2020s, almost 51% of households in the USA had carpets at home. Each carpet serves within 10-15 years on average. After that most people throw the carpet away. Statistics says, about 2 billion kilograms of carpets appear in landfill every year. The carpets are made of two types of materials: natural (wool, cotton, jute, etc) and artificial (olefin, nylon, polyester, etc). Very often the carpet is a combination of both, natural and artificial, fibers. As you can guess, natural materials can decompose completely, while artificial ones lie in landfills for decades. It may take about 500 years for a carpet, made of synthetic material, to decompose. Does this figure make you worry? If yes, then you should know, there’s a way out. You have to recycle the carpet, which you don’t need anymore.
How Do You Recycle Carpets?
Carpets are created from a combination of complex fibers which makes them impossible to decompose in landfills. Very often the carpets are made of different kinds of materials. They have different chemical statuses, that’s why recycling them properly is a hard nut to crack.
Where Can You Recycle Carpets?
Carpet recycling depends on two main factors: the material, from which the carpet is made and your location. That is why it’s impossible to give an exact answer to that question. I have two ideas, where you can recycle your carpet.
1. The local carpet store
The best place to start is your local carpet store. Sometimes the carpets are made and sold at the same place. Probably, the store owner can take your carpet and recycle it. Otherwise, they may cut down it into patches and use it to create some new carpet models.
2. The nearest collection point
I advise you to research, where in your area there’s the collection point. Then contact them and learn, what kind of materials they collect. If they accept wool, cotton, or plastic, you can easily ask them to accept your carpet for recycling.
3. Contact the CARE organization
The Carpet America Recovery Effort, or CARE, is a non-governmental organization, which offers solutions for carpet recycling. CARE has created an interactive map of collection sites and available collectors for carpet recycling. Contact them and, probably, they’ll pick up your old carpet.
Preparing Your Carpet for Picking Up
I contacted the online manufacturer, and they agreed to pick up my old carpet. But I’ve learned, that the carpet should be prepared for it. Let’s consider step by step, how the old carpet should be prepared for collection.
1. Remove your carpet from the floor if it was firmly installed
I know that many homeowners put a lot of effort to install their carpets firmly. They use carpet glue, nails, and double-sided tape to fix the carpet well and avoid sliding. Before taking your carpet for recycling, you have to remove it and then clean from the dry carpet glue, broken nail parts, and double-sided tape. Otherwise, they may damage the recycling equipment.
You can hire an expert from the local carpet cleaning company to remove the old carpet for you. Or you may do it yourself. Watch the video to know, how to do it. You may need the carpet repair kit for that.
2. Get rid of paint and other kinds of dry stains
Drywall mud and paint are other substances that can make carpet unrecyclable. They are not as easy to remove. Body fluids, asbestos, and chemicals are some other major contaminants that can make a carpet unrecyclable.
I recommend cleaning the carpet before you take it to the recycling point. Here’s the list of strong carpet stain removers, which can help you to do it.
3. Get the carpet completely dry
Excessive moisture may not be so much of a contaminant but it makes carpet heavy. Besides, wet carpets are likely to contain mildew and mold which interferes with fiber-testing equipment.
To prepare your carpet for recycling, ensure to dry out your carpet and get rid of visible debris. You can also protect your old carpet from snow and rain by using overhangs or closed containers.
The ideal processing method to prepare your carpet for collection is to roll it with the fiber side out and then cut it to 6-foot widths.
I know, now you think, that recycling a carpet is quite challenging and you want to refuse it. But I ask you to think one more time. There are the reasons, why it is strongly recommended to recycle the carpet.
Why You Should Recycle Your Carpet
Do you have to go through the hassles of recycling an unnecessary carpet when you can just toss it in the trash and forget about it? You may choose not to do it. But you just consider it. And that’s why:
1. If you recycle your carpet, you reduce the amount of dump in landfills
Statistics show that over 2 billion kg of carpet material is dumped in landfills every single year which does not do the ecosystem any good.
It is even worse when the carpet material is synthetic. Synthetic carpets degrade very slowly and chemicals are leaked into the ground during their process of decomposition. This is exceedingly harmful to the environment.
2. Thus you can reduce the chances of cancer
Some people, trying to reduce the number of carpet materials in landfills, decide to burn the carpets. The problem is that when this happens, harmful pollutants and endocrine disruptors are released into the surrounding.
Some other hazardous chemicals like dioxin, mercury, and lead are end products of the incineration of carpets. Exposure to such harmful substances may result in pulmonary diseases, heart attacks, and ultimately, cancer.
So dumping your unwanted carpet isn’t a good idea, after all, neither burning it is a better option.
But if the recycling of carpets is so necessary for environmental protection, why do most homeowners refuse it? Let’s see!
The Reasons, Why People Refuse from Carpet Recycling
Just like I mentioned above, a large majority of carpet users do not know that carpets can be recycled. This happens because of a variety of reasons:
1. Carpet recycling is very different from recycling other stuff like plastic and cardboard.
Since it’s less obvious that carpet recycling is a thing, people don’t recycle.
2. The available recycling bins around the country aren’t very good at promoting their services.
Although this issue is being addressed by the MOU (memorandum of understanding) by establishing an organization that offers information on varieties of carpet recovery services to both individuals and businesses across the country.
3. The recovery centers in some states are usually very far from the city.
Although some non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity accept carpets and other household items.
If I Refuse Recycling, What Else Can Old Carpet Be Used for?
My position is clear: it is better to pick up your old carpet for recycling. But I understand that for some of you it’s a little too much. You need to remove the old carpet, clean it, and find the collection point. That’s why I decided to give you some alternative ideas, what to do with the old carpet if you are not going to recycle it.
You can use old carpet pieces for heavy furniture to stand
If you have any heavy sofa, cupboard, or wardrobe in your household, you can use old carpet pieces as coasters under its legs. Thus you’ll keep the floor under the furniture legs from damage. Just cut little squares from the old carpet and make coasters from them.
You can use old carpet stripes as cushions on your knees
If you like to do house repair jobs by yourself, you have to spend a lot of time, staying on your knees. Cut a square from your old carpet (about 20 x 20 inches). Thus you’ll get a great fluffy cushion under your knees, while you are repairing an old washing machine, planting your flowers, or working on a car.
You may sell or donate an old carpet
If your carpet looks quite well and you didn’t tear it out completely, you may sell it online at some sites, like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, some vintage online store, etc. Otherwise, you may give it for donation.
The best carpets to buy are carpets made from natural, renewable materials like wool, sisal, jute, and seagrass. Aside from the fact that they are renewable materials, they are also very durable.
Whenever you decide to remove your old carpet, recycling the carpet is the best thing to do.
If you will like to get it done professionally and save yourself the hassles, reach out to our experts by clicking (here)