Carpet waste diversion rose by 30 per cent in 2012

Carpet waste diversion rose by 30 per cent in 2012

Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) has reported that 30 per cent more carpet waste was recycled or used to generate power in 2012 than in 2011.

The not-for-profit membership organisation that aims to increase carpet recycling across the UK, found that in 2012, 21.4 per cent of carpet waste (or 85,000 tonnes) was diverted from landfill, compared to 16.5 per cent the year before.

Of the 85,000 tonnes diverted, 36,000 tonnes was recycled and reused (12.5 per cent more than in 2011) and 49,000 tonnes was sent to cement kilns and power generation plants for energy recovery.

CRUK found that between 2011 and 2012, the amount of carpet waste sent for energy recovery increased by 44 per cent (15,000 tonnes) as the ‘high calorific value of carpets became more widely recognised and exploited’.

The news follows on from figures released by CRUK in December that found that CRUK’s members diverted 6,049 tonnes, or 99 per cent, of carpet production offcuts from landfill last year. However, despite the industry preference for sending the waste for energy recovery, CRUK members chose to look further up the waste hierarchy and recycled the majority of their carpet offcuts, with 5,241 tonnes sent for recycling and only 808 tonnes used for energy recovery.

CRUK Director Laurance Bird, said the rise in carpet waste diverted from landfill was testament to “sustained efforts across the entire supply chain in capturing rising waste tonnages, plus entrepreneurial commitment to developing new outlets and markets for all types of carpet waste”.

He added: “New recycling opportunities [continue] to emerge as growing awareness is matched by practical endeavour…It was encouraging to see new machinery investment along with growth in the use of fibres from carpets for equestrian surfaces and felts, such as underlay.

“While an estimated 78.6 per cent of end-of-life carpet still ends up in landfill, our goals for 2013 will continue to drive higher carpet recycling rates through a number of initiatives, including local authority encouragement on segregation.”

Such initiatives include encouraging local authorities to implement separate carpet waste bins at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

According to CRUK’s study of HWRCs, ten local authorities encompassing 61 HWRC sites currently use separate bins to collect carpet waste for recycling or energy from waste, and have so far collected 14,620 tonnes of domestic carpets from 2.3 million households per year, representing an average of 6.4 kgs of carpet waste per household per year.

Looking forward, CRUK set out targets for the carpet industry to achieve in 2013, including:  

  • Diverting 23.5 per cent of carpet waste from landfill
  • Improving ‘choice, collection and transport logistics’ across the UK, through increasing reuse, recycling and energy recovery outlets;
  • Recruiting manufacturers, distributors, retail and flooring contractor members to help ‘support collection infrastructure growth and improve recyclate value’; and
  • Increasing awareness of carpet recycling opportunities across the ‘value chain’, including waste management and local authority decision-makers.

CRUK hopes to see 25 per cent of carpet waste diverted from landfill by 2015.