Carpet recycling is showing rapid growth in America

Interface, a company in the commercial carpeting business, and its late founder and Chairman Ray Anderson, have a reputation as one of the founders of the sustainable business movement but Interface is not the only organization involved in recycling of carpeting. According to the Carpet America Recovery Effort, an industry initiative, 534 million pounds of carpet, or 14 percent of the 3.7 billion pounds of total discarded carpet, was diverted from landfills last year.

CARE claims that the environmental impact of the 2013 carpet diversion effort is the equivalent of taking 40,822 cars off the road, or saving enough energy to power 17,692 homes for the year. Since its founding in 2002, CARE members have diverted more than 3.25 billion gross pounds of post-consumer carpet from landfills in the US.

In 2013, 28% by weight of recycled carpet was used to make new fibre for carpets. Another 17% of the recycled carpet was used to make backing material for new carpets. The majority of the recycled carpeting was used to produced engineered resins, specialty plastics that are used in a wide range of rigid plastic products such as are used automobiles, but the percentage going in that direction has decreased from 63% in 2012 to 49% in 2013 as a result of increased demand for post-consumer recycled carpet.

Carpet recycling is not yet a routine activity in Canada and there seems to be little interest from governments. Carpet recycling, and the associated diversion from landfill, will happen only when it is demanded by users of carpeting or forced by regulation. Large users of carpeting, especially in the institutional and commercial sectors, could enhance their sustainability performance and reputation by insisting that used carpet from their facilities is sent to recycling facilities rather than to landfill. US carpet recyclers are available to accept used carpet from Canadian sources and processors accepting used carpet for recycling can be found using the search tool at  You will need to enter the name of a nearby US city and click the processor button to find the recycling companies.

CARE’s 2013 annual report can be found at

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