California carpet recycling program surpasses goals

california carpet recyclingDalton—At a time of tremendous pressure on recycling efforts across the country, California carpet recycling saw significant progress in 2021, according to the just-released California Carpet Stewardship Program 2021 Annual Report. In 2021, the program achieved an all-time high recycling rate of 27.9%, exceeding the 26% target set in the five-year plan.

Seventy-six percent of all carpet collected in California by 2021 was recycled into useful new products, exceeding the program’s target of 60%, according to CARE. This percentage, called the Yield, has increased dramatically over the duration of the program, compared to just 28% 10 years ago, thanks to increased throughput, growing markets for post-consumer carpet materials and technological advances.

“2021 was another year of great progress in the face of multiple challenges,” said Bob Peoples, CARE Executive Director. “I appreciate the hard work of the recyclers, retailers, installers and staff at the drop-off site; over the years we have built a robust system for collecting and recycling carpet that is unmatched. This is the first time the program has achieved the ambitious goals of the five-year plan and we are on track to continue this amazing progress.”

According to the California Carpet Stewardship Program’s 2021 Annual Report:

  • Statewide, 88.5 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was collected.
  • 67 million pounds of recycled output was produced.
  • More than 81 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (MTC02E) were saved.
  • $23.1 million in grants were paid to support collectors, processors and manufacturers of recycled carpet material.
  • More than $1.5 million in grants were invested in 2021. Since 2017, CARE has paid more than $9.5 million to grow carpet recycling through capital improvement grants, product testing and collection expansion.

Carpet collection is an essential part of the recycling process, according to CARE. By the end of 2021, there were 94 CARE-sponsored public drop-off sites, with all 58 counties having at least one Operational Program-sponsored public drop-off site. This is an increase of more than 200% compared to 44 public drop-off points in 2017.

With grants, grants and technical assistance, CARE supports increased collection and processing of carpet into products containing recycled carpet material. Twenty-seven suppliers currently process carpet in at least 103 products, including 10 suppliers in California. These products have industrial and retail applications, such as automotive plastic parts, rubber transition mats, building materials and absorption products.

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