We’ve discussed recycling post–consumer carpets back into new carpet, but what about other uses such as plastic?
Post–consumer carpet can be recycled back into many different plastic products. This includes car parts, furniture,
and tons of other products made with plastic. In actuality, without other methods of recycling such as carpet to plastic and
carpet to energy (meaning carpets are incinerated to generate power), the carpet recycling industry would not be where it is
With carpet recycling, recyclers collect and sort post–consumer carpet, separate the individual components (backing,
face fibers, etc.), and then recycle the old carpet materials back into new materials. These materials can then be used by
carpet manufacturers to make new carpet or by compounders to make new plastic materials. This is a practice that saves
millions of pounds of carpet waste from filling landfills on an annual basis; however, the ability for manufacturers to use
these recycled carpet materials to make new carpet will never be high enough to match the amount of carpet that is available
to be recycled. With carpet to plastic, recycled carpets are being used to make hundreds, if not thousands of other
non–carpet related plastic items. By supplementing the carpet to carpet model with a carpet to plastics model, the
amount of carpet that is recycled will continue to grow.
To help advance the use of recycled carpet materials in plastic products (known as carpet to plastic), the Carpet America
Recovery Effort (CARE) has brought in professionals from different areas of the industry to help discover new ways to use
recycled carpet in the plastic industry. This was a popular topic of discussion at the 2009 Annual CARE Conference in
By finding new innovative ways to recycle post–consumer carpet into plastic products, the world of carpet recycling
is helping our society head toward a brighter, greener future.