Carpet collections fell by 10 per cent in 2019, says Carpet Recycling UK

Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) has released its latest carpet recycling and diversion figures, which show that carpet collections have fallen by 10 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

The latest data for 2019 reveals that the volume of carpet waste diverted from landfill in the UK was 158,577 tonnes, down from 172,252 tonnes in 2018. Based on last year’s figures, a 10 per cent fall would result in the collection of 360,000 tonnes of carpet this year, meaning that CRUK’s 2019 diversion rate is 44 per cent. This is off-track for the organisation’s 2020 goal of a 60 per cent diversion rate.

CRUK carpet offcutsFormed in 2007, CRUK works with a total of 110 members including John Lewis, Desso and Marlings and has overseen around 1.25 million tonnes of carpet waste diverted from landfills so far.

“Encouraging rises” were seen in several areas – carpet tiles reuse increased by over 100 per cent, synthetic fibre recycling went up by 50 per cent, and use in carpet fibre recovery increased by more than 50 per cent.

It must be noted that CRUK has changed the way it generates industry data in 2019, by capturing additional information as a separate stream and recording other end-of-life use where possible, in order to provide more specific areas of information.

Commenting on the organisation’s role in data collection, CRUK Manager Adnan Zeb-Khan said: “For the last 12 years, CRUK has maintained its position as the ‘go-to’ body for information on outlets for carpet and other textile waste, facilitation of networking and information on sustainability within the sector.”

The 2019 reduction in collected carpet waste is due to a number of factors, says Zeb-Khan, such as market uncertainty, additional taxes/lower sales, company mergers/acquisitions and the waste sector seeing a reduction in waste streams across the country.

Looking to the future, CRUK “remains committed to ‘building on the conversation’” with the government regarding policy changes in carpet waste handling in the UK. Zeb-Khan added: “Going forward, our sustainable treatment of all types of waste in the UK is going to change – and carpet as a viable raw material resource will, in my view, be a key part of that equation. We are facilitating the growth of sustainability for companies who are engaging with us ahead of legislation.”

CRUK lays out its aims for 2020, which include the identification of more post-manufacture and post-consumer carpet waste, monitoring developments, innovation and changes in the markets for this sector, researching and promoting developments in sustainable products and circular design, and increasing support from membership across the sector.

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, CRUK’s annual conference and awards event on 9 July 2020 has been postponed. However, the Awards may still go ahead to recognise the member’s achievements during 2019.

CRUK faced controversy in 2019, when it was revealed that much of the carpet waste diverted from landfill by CRUK members was going to incineration. An investigation titled ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ found that while CRUK had seen 44 per cent of their waste in 2018 diverted from landfill, 73 per cent of this was incinerated, releasing significant carbon emissions. The incineration of UK carpet waste costs around £16.5 million per year in climate damages, according to the report.

You can read more about CRUK on its website.

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