California’s carpet recycling program sees improved rates

California’s carpet recycling program sees improved rates

The California Carpet Stewardship Program achieved an all-time program high recycling rate of 23.2 percent in Q4 2020, according to an annual report.

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September 17, 2021

Carpet recycling saw significant progress in 2020 in California, according to Carpet America Recovery Effort’s (CARE’s) recently released California Carpet Stewardship Program 2020 Annual Report.

The California Program achieved an all-time program high recycling rate of 23.2 percent in Q4 2020, with an overall annual recycling rate of 21 percent in 2020. While it did not meet the target 24 percent goal, the recycling rate for this fossil-fuel-based material is up 107 percent in the past five years.

68 percent of the carpet collected in California was recycled in 2020, the report states. This percentage has grown dramatically over the life of the program from just 28 percent 9 years ago, thanks to expanded processing capacity, growing markets for post-consumer carpet materials and technological advances.

Major market development efforts, particularly in the creation of a market for carpet backing material, also known as PC4, has led to this outstanding 68 percent yield rate.

“We are incredibly proud of the determination and resilience shown by the California carpet recycling community,” said CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples in a release. “Thanks to their efforts, in the past five years alone, 292 million pounds of discarded carpet was kept out of California landfills—equivalent to more than 10,000 full-loaded 53-foot trailers of carpet—and recycled into useful new products.”

According to the California Carpet Stewardship Program’s 2020 Annual Report:

  • 67 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was diverted from California landfills.
  • 53 million pounds of recycled output was produced.
  • Over 72 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (MTC02E) was saved.
  • $16.9 million in subsidies supported collectors, processors and manufacturers of recycled carpet material.
  • Nearly $1.1 million in grant funding was paid in 2020. Since 2017, CARE has paid over $8 million to grow carpet recycling via grants for capital improvement, product testing and expansion of collection.
In addition, CARE’s emergency COVID-19 Action Plan has provided support to the industry as it faces the economic and operational challenges of 2020. According to organization, the Action Plan included special payouts in 2020 totaling $1.6 million to collectors/sorters, processors and manufacturers.