Industry welcomes surge in demand for carpet recycling

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
More people are keeping carpets out of landfill

A surge in demand from both consumers and businesses is driving an increase in carpet recycling, a major conference heard last week.

Visitors to the Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) annual one day conference were told more awareness of the recycling potential of carpets, such as their use in energy generation and for equestrian surface materials, is prompting more people to keep them out of landfill.

Commercial sector demand for sustainability and the need to tackle the 400,000 tonnes of waste carpet each year in the UK is also driving the market.

CRUK director Laurance Bird said: “In 2007 only 2% per of waste carpet made it to recycling centres, leaving far too much mouldering in landfills and no use to anybody. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen an increasing amount of activity to reach out to customers and, indeed consumers, in different ways to help them with the recovery of material.”

Last year’s 35% landfill diversion rate represented 142,000 tones of carpet that was reused, recycled or recovered for energy. CRUK has a 60% diversion target from landfill by 2020.

He added: “A key is to redesign carpets to give better recycling results. Increases in landfill tax have also put pressure on people to recycle more carpeting. UK carpet manufacturers believe creating producer responsibility for their product at end of life is very important for building their business on a sustainable base.”

Keynote speaker Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Andrew Bird highlighted the bulky waste challenges facing local authorities.

“Given current pressures there is now a need to fundamentally change the way we finance collection and disposal of waste. Carpets can prove problematic as a bulky item in terms of volume.”

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