Figures released by Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), Stockport, England, indicate that 107,000 metric tons of scrap carpet was reused, recycled and recovered in the United Kingdom in 2013, a 21 percent increase from the prior year.
CRUK says the landfill diversion rate of 27 percent means that it has exceeded its original target of 25 percent by 2015 two years early. The target was set in 2008 when the industry organization was launched to tackle the 400,000 metric tons of scrap carpet arising annually in the U.K.
Reuse and recycling of end-of-life carpet increased 19 percent or by 7,000 metric tons and energy recovery rose 31 percent or by 15,000 metric tons in 2013, compared to 2012, according to CRUK. The organization’s new goal is a landfill diversion target rate of 60 percent by 2020.
“We are confident that this [new target] can be reached given the progress rate over the past five years as the demand for carpets as a material stream has increased steadily,” says Laurance Bird, CRUK’s director.
Carpet is now regarded as a beneficial resource from which valuable raw materials can be extracted for reuse in a second life, according to Bird. “Possibilities are growing all the time as entrepreneurs from a complete cross-section of manufacturing and commercial enterprises continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved,” he comments.
Domestic households are the main source of carpets, which are recovered at end-of-life via local authority recycling centers and bulky waste collection procedures.
According to CRUK research, more than 200 household waste recycling center (HWRC) sites are now involved in segregating carpets, giving more than 7 million households the opportunity to recycle their carpets. Adds Bird, “Councils continue to be an important focus for us as we encourage more to engage in collecting carpets, which increases their site recovery rates and saves raw materials for reuse or primary fuel replacement.”
Carpets from commercial sources such as flooring contractors and retailers are increasingly being segregated so disposal costs can be reduced and materials recovered rather than being mixed with other wastes to end up in landfill. “Scotland has introduced compulsory material segregation for commercial businesses from January 1st 2014 to stop loss of valuable materials going to landfill,” says Bird. “This has to be welcomed and other U.K. regions will be watching this closely.”