Recycling Carpet

Recycling Carpet

Michelle Chin
Oct 10, 2011

When I moved into my home nearly 2 years ago, there was new, but very thin, cheap carpet in the bedrooms and in the apartment over the garage. As much as I wanted to rip it out immediately because of its propensity for holding allergens, I didn't have the conscience to tear out something brand new. It seemed totally un-green and a waste, especially when each year, around 5 billion pounds of discarded carpet ends up in landfills.

Fast forward to now and the tenant over the garage has just moved out and, despite her having it cleaned, it smelled musty and gross. Was it cat pee? Wine? Bong water? I have no idea, but it was making me feel congested every time I entered the room. As I ripped up the carpet, I saw any number of places where things had been spilled, making me very thankful I made the decision to replace it with laminate flooring. But what to do with the carpet now?

I began searching online (including Re-Nest, of course) and found The Carpet America Recovery Effort. In my local area, to drop off a pickup truck full of carpet and padding at The Carpet Recyclers, the fee is only $25. I'm totally willing to pay that for the 320 square feet of carpet and padding to ensure it's diverted from the landfill! The rules are that it can't be carpet scraps, must be clean (no caked-on dirt, adhesives or construction debris) and the carpet padding must be re-bond padding (the kind that is a collage of colors pressed together into foam padding). Currently, many recyclers don't accept carpet tiles, but be sure to check with your local facility to make sure.

I can't justify replacing the carpet the bedrooms yet since it hasn't yet seen the kind of hard use the garage apartment did, but I'm thankful to know that it will eventually be turned into something else very useful.

(Image: Shutterstock/Huguette Roe)

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