Carpets are full of complex fibers that make them impossible to break down in landfills. And, because carpet is made from multiple components with different chemical makeups, it’s tough to recycle properly. In addition to its disposal woes, carpet’s bulkiness burdens the sanitation workers tasked with picking it up.
Despite complications, nearly all types of carpet can be recycled. Depending on the fiber, carpet can be broken down and used to make a new product.
A lack of infrastructure means carpet recycling procedures are always case by case, depending on what the carpet is made of and where you live. Your personal carpet dealer is a great place to start to find local solutions. Some companies will pick up your carpet, but only if you live close to their facility.
CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) is a nonprofit organization working to develop the infrastructure needed to recycle carpet efficiently across the U.S. In the meantime, find a carpet recycling facility near you with our recycle center locator.
Frequent Carpet Recycling Questions
Can carpet be thrown in curbside trash?
Technically, carpet can be thrown away in the garbage. However, because it is generally thrown out in such large amounts, it may not be accepted in your curbside trash can. You may need to wait for bulk pick-up days or bring your carpet to a designated drop-off.
Is carpet collected for donation?
While your heart might be in the right place, used carpet cannot typically be donated due to health concerns. If you’re tearing up old flooring, recycling is a better decision.
However, new or unused carpet can be donated to local charities, especially those specializing in building or home restoration. Jump to the locator for local options.
Can carpet and carpet padding be recycled together?
Many companies that recycle carpet also take carpet padding. Carpet padding is recycled separately from carpet, however, so it’s best to double-check that both are accepted by the program you choose to use to recycle your carpet.
When you recycle carpet, what is it turned into?
Recycled carpet is typically turned back into plastic resin that can be used to make a range of products for industries including: automotive, transportation, construction, and home and garden.
Do flooring companies recycle old carpet when it’s replaced?
Although the carpet industry has pledged to recycle and recover more, whether or not your flooring company will recycle is dependent on your local area and their internal resources. When you’re getting ready to purchase new carpeting, ask about removal options.
If you’re a do-it-yourself installer, check the Carpet America Recovery Effort’s list of certified products and reclamation partners to find potential recyclers near you that will reliably recycle your spent carpet and backing.