The state of Maine will be looking to divert its used carpet away from landfills thanks to a new partnership with the Carpet America Recovery Effort, focusing mainly on the removal and recycling of carpet from government buildings.
The carpet fiber will be reprocessed into carpet padding, which will be laid under new carpet installations throughout the state. CARE claims that five billion pounds of carpet are deposited into landfills every year in the U.S.
It’s estimated that 96 percent of disposed carpet in 2002 ended up in a landfill. However, programs similar to Maine’s initiative have encouraged more than one billion pounds of carpet have been recycled since 2002.
“Used carpet is a bulky waste that is difficult and expensive to manage,” says Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David P. Littell. “Maine looks forward to adding the recycling of carpet to our efforts in developing alternatives to disposal in landfills.”
CARE is a partnership between the carpet industry and government agencies looking to recycle 25 percent of all carpet by 2012.
One of the difficulties of recycling carpet is that it’s a mixture of different materials. It can contain numerous forms of plastic, such as nylon, polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). However, all of this plastic can be beneficial. Carpet can be recycled into many of the same products as other plastics, such as lumber and railroad ties. It can also be used for energy recovery because plastics are made of crude oil.