CalRecycle approves changes to boost carpet recycling

CalRecycle approves changes to boost carpet recycling

Addendum designed to help California achieve state carpet recycling goal of 24 percent by 2020.

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January 12, 2015

In a move expected to bolster carpet recycling in California, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Sacramento, has agreed to changes to the state’s carpet stewardship plan to boost funding for recycling efforts.

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), Dalton, Georgia, administers California’s carpet stewardship program, which was established following enactment of legislation in 2010. The goal of the stewardship program is to divert carpet from landfills and recycle it into products such as new carpet, carpet cushion, plastic automotive parts, and building materials.

“We’re pleased CARE is taking further action to increase our state’s carpet recycling efforts,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen says. “As we work toward California’s statewide goal of 75 percent recycling by 2020, we will continually evaluate all proven and promising initiatives to help get us there.”

CARE’s stewardship plan includes recycling rate goals of 16 percent by 2016 and 24 percent by 2020. To date, however, the rate has not exceeded 13 percent, and CalRecycle deemed CARE to be out of compliance with its stewardship plan, which requires demonstration of continuous and meaningful improvements.

While CalRecycle has the option to take compliance and enforcement actions to ensure the plan is being implemented in good faith, the department is allowing CARE to make amendments and will re-evaluate program performance at the next scheduled review in July 2015.

In order to spur carpet recycling, CARE issues per-pound incentive payments to processors and recyclers of used carpet. These payments are funded through an assessment added to the purchase price of new carpet.

CARE’s addendum to the existing plan includes increasing the incentive payments for specific carpet material. It also includes new incentive payments for material that was not covered in the program before, such as calcium carbonate, which is part of carpet backing, and for carpet tiles.

To cover these additional payments, the carpet stewardship assessment that retail customers pay on new carpet purchases will increase from 5 cents per square yard to 10 cents per square yard. As stated in the plan, the new assessment will add about $5 to the cost of carpeting an average home.

According to CalRecycle’s California 2008 Statewide Waste Characterization Study, carpet represents 3.2 percent of the waste stream going into California landfills—an estimated 1.2 million tons per year.