Approximately 2.5 million tons (that’s 5 trillion pounds!) of carpet and rug waste end up in landfills each year in the US, with this number steadily increasing since the 1990s. Nationwide only 8% of carpet is recycled (EPA). An organization called Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is working to advance recycling of post-consumer carpet and expand market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion, along with encouraging design for recyclability. CARE was established in 2002 to oversee goals and targets laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the carpet industry, a number of states, the federal EPA and a small group of non-governmental organizations. 

The term “landfill diversion” includes both recycling and “combustion with energy recovery,” also called “waste to energy.” This is where non-recyclable materials are burned at a facility that turns the material into energy or fuel. For this article, however, the most exciting part of the story is the work that CARE and it’s 162 members have done to increase recycling efforts, pushing companies to be innovative in take-back programs and product design. 

CARE also administers California’s Carpet Stewardship Program, which is charged with meeting the requirements for carpet recycling set by California laws, much more stringent than other states and requiring 24% of carpets and rugs to be recyclable by January 1, 2020. According to CARE’s Annual Report, California was approaching this goal, with the recycling rate reaching 19% in 2019. CARE's preventative action plan created in response to COVID-19 has provided the industry with additional support as it attempts to tackle the challenges of 2020. 

CARE recently partnered with ecomedes to build a product portal with their member products that also includes products with Double Green™ certification. Here are three companies that are using recycled carpet in their products. 

1. Miura Boards

Miura Board products are made by upcycling plastic scrap (50%) and post-consumer carpet (50%), qualifying them for Double Green™ certification. The Municipal Parks Department in Gainesville, Florida has installed boardwalks made of Miura Board planks in 60 regional parks, where the boards are holding up even with the harsh heat and weather in Florida. 

Check out Miura Board deck boards on ecomedes - here

2. American Fiber Cushion 

American Fiber Cushion Matrix Cushion Products are made of 100% pre consumer material, a mix of recycled carpet fiber and carpet foam. This product is Double Green™ certified because of the recycled carpet material. It also has the Green Label certification from The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) showing that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by the product are at approved levels. 

Check out American Fiber Cushion Matrix products on ecomedes - here

3. Carpet Cycle

Carpet Cycle Quiet-Tech is an acoustic batt insulation made of 85-90% post-consumer recycled materials. This product is Double Green™ certified, meaning a portion of the recycled material includes recycled carpet fibers. 

Check out Carpet Cycle Quiet-Tech insulation on ecomedes - here