In 2011, an estimated 750,000 carpet tiles were reused or recycled, representing a diversion rate of about 1.4 percent. However, the sector is expanding with 15 CRUK member organizations comprising five reuse organizations and 10 recycling or fuel flock specialists able to increase the recycling and reuse of the 64,000 metric ton waste stream.
Several projects being developed to boost carpet recycling and reuse efforts include flooring manufacturer DESSO’s nationwide collection and recycling Take Back program and Greenstream Recycling’s national reuse and recycling collection for local social benefit.
“Raising awareness within these sectors is crucial for us in finding useful second lives for carpet tiles and diverting a readily recyclable resource from landfill,” says Laurance Bird, director of CRUK. “Having made a great start, there is still much more we can do.”
DESSO, a CRUK core funder, provides nationwide collection and recycling facilities through its Take Back program, which accepts used tiles from any source, except PVC-backed tiles. Established in 2008, the initiative strives to eliminate landfilling of any tiles. Instead, the company seeks to recycle the tiles into new flooring products or use them in other recycling initiatives.
Greenstream Flooring CIC, based in South Wales, diverted more than 36,500 square meters of unwanted carpet tiles from landfill in 2012, 70 percent of which was reused, either by Greenstream or one of the company’s national networks of community resellers.
“Creating a second life for carpet tiles for low-income families and individuals in the U.K. provides the FM sector with a set of unique quantified social outputs that any other ‘waste option’ can’t beat,” says Ellen Petts, managing director of Greenstream.