What is it?
Carpet is a textile floor covering typically consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The pile is usually made from synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester. The backing is used to hold the carpet together and is often made up of polypropylene, a type of synthetic plastic used in ropes, fabrics and molded objects.
What is the issue?
Although carpet is primarily made of recyclable plastic components, most carpets end up in landfill. Discarded carpet currently represents about 4 per cent of the total landfill volume in North America with approximately 6.5 billion pounds of carpet being thrown away every year. This is also an issue because of the how long it takes for plastics to degrade
Where can it go?
Unfortunately, Saskatchewan does not have any recyclers that can handle carpeting material in their recycling systems. Organizations like Aspera recycling and Carpet Cycle Canada do provide carpet recycling services in other Canadian provinces.
What happens after?
Once collected, the carpet is baled by type and hauled to processors. Processors then clean the carpet, shred or strip the materials, sort the various types of plastic and process it into plastic pellets. These pellets are then used to make new plastic and new carpet products. This process closes the recycling loop through the creation of new carpet, from previously used carpet materials.
How can I reduce?
- It’s easy to extend the life of your carpet by cleaning up spills immediately in order to avoid staining and fungus growth. Use entrance mats to keep nearby carpets clean and vacuum heavily trafficked areas regularly.
- Consider alternatives to carpet that are more durable, stain resistant and sustainably sourced. You’ll end up saving on maintenance and replacement costs by limiting the amount of carpet you have to fewer locations.
- Consider buying carpet tiles instead of a one-piece carpet. When a section of the carpet wears out, you can replace the tile rather than the whole thing.
- Interface is a carpeting company that is committed to manufacturing their products as sustainably as possible. They have reduced their ecological footprint as much as possible through responsible practices and sell their carpet in tiles to help you reduce your footprint as well.