Carpet: Latest recycling initiatives

The carpet industry has maintained a reputation as a leader in landfill diversion by virtue of its recycling efforts. Not only are groups like the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) spearheading the movement, but individual manufacturers are also taking innovative approaches in their recycling initiatives.Bob Peoples, executive director of CARE, said the flooring industry continues to make great strides in recycling through commitment and innovation. “Recycling carpet is tough, but we as an industry are making progress, learning and modifying our approaches to ensure success,” he said. “Smart entrepreneurs are tackling the challenges and innovating, and doing it well.”The flooring industry’s largest mills continue to push innovation and make significant investments in their recycling operations.Mohawk, for example, invested $180 million for its Continuum process, which boasts up to 50% recycled content. The production of Mohawk’s PET filament offerings (carpet made using recycled plastic bottles) now divert over 3 billion bottles from the landfill each year.Shaw, which has recycled 600 million pounds of PCC since 2006, continues to evaluate new processes and technologies in its quest to increase recycling efforts, according to David Wilkerson, corporate director of sustainability and product stewardship.“On average, 80% of the carpet we reclaim is recycled into new carpet,” Wilkerson said.When reclaimed material can’t be recycled into new carpet, Wilkerson said Shaw diverts it to reuse in carpet cushion manufacturing, erosion and sediment control—even in automobile parts manufacturing. Carpet that cannot be recycled back into new products or other commodities is converted to energy, which becomes an alternative power supply for Shaw’s two adjacent carpet manufacturing facilities.Milliken, a founding member of CARE, began its landfill-diversion efforts more than a decade ago, when the company issued a “No Carpet to Landfill” pledge. In 2012, it revamped its program as part of a corporate strategy to become more actively involved in finding alternate sources for waste carpet.An example of the company’s progress is Milliken’s Carpet Landfill Diversion Program. “An important goal of sustainability is to stay local,” said Philip Ivey, strategic sustainability leader with Milliken’s global floor covering division. “So we work with certified CARE collectors in the area to find the highest and best use for the material we are asked to collect, whether that’s carpet-to-carpet recycling, waste-to-energy, donations to charity or other uses.”###Source: Floor Covering News