According to Earth 911, in 2011, only 9 percent of the millions of tons of carpet and rugs that were discarded that year were recycled.
Why are carpets and rugs are one of the least recycled household items? For the homeowner, carpets are heavy and bulky to transport and it’s much easier to simply dump them in the trash. For the recycler, carpet is a challenge to work with because it’s made of different fibers and backing fabrics and each has to be recovered and reused separately.
The Mother Nature Network’s site has two articles on the process of recycling carpet:
Check out the Carpet and Rug Institute’s article Recycle, Recover and Reuse for another look at recycling.
The Carpet Recyclers’ site has a video that shows the recycling process.
And go to the Carpet America Recovery Effort’s (CARE) site for a list of places, by state, that will recycle carpet.
You can donate worn but clean pieces of carpet to animal shelters, turn them into cat scratchers, use them for insulation, or save one rectangle to use as a welcome mat.
Check out these sites for some more practical suggestions.
This Old House’s article 10 Uses for Carpet Scraps.
Used Carpet Melbourne: Ten Things You Can Do with Your Old Carpet.
Build-It-Green Coach’s Creative Ways to Reuse Carpet.
You can reduce your need for new carpeting by extending the life of the carpet you have. See Creators.com’s advice on how to care for your carpet and how to create a patch for a damaged area.
It’s always good to be green!
≈Linda Hetzer is an editor and author of books on home design, crafts, and food, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.
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