Last year, Americans threw away 3.5 million tons of carpet and rugs, and only 9 percent of this material was recycled, according to the U.S. EPA.
But companies like The Carpet Recyclers are looking to increase the nation’s carpet recycling rate, finding new uses for old carpets and keeping them out of our landfills.
The Southern California-based company recently released a video which offers a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art recycling facility in La Mirada, Calif.
Since the facility opened its doors in 2009, The Carpet Recyclers have created 100 green collar jobs and recycled over 100 million pounds of carpet. Because carpet is a petroleum-based product, this represents a savings of 10 million gallons of oil, the company says.
What makes The Carpet Recyclers different from other carpet recycling companies? Most recyclers burn or trash the carpet’s backing, which makes up of 80 percent of the carpet, according to The Carpet Recyclers. But their company has developed technology to separate the backing into its component materials for recycling: fibers, polypropylene plastic and limestone filler.
The Carpet Recyclers sell these materials to manufacturers that make a host of new products out of the old carpet: car parts, building materials, park benches, carpet and carpet pads, and high-energy fuel.
Benefitting from a 2011 California law that charges a fee on carpet sold in the state to fund recycling efforts, The Carpet Recyclers say they’re on track to recycle over 60 million pounds of carpet in 2011.
Homepage image: Wikimedia Commons, by Quadell