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30% more carpet waste diverted from landfill in 2012, reports CRUK

Diversion of carpet waste from landfill increased to 21.4% in 2012 – a rise of 30% on the previous year’s 16.5% rate, reports Carpet Recycling UK.

The industry body’s success in finding new reuse, recycling and energy recovery outlets for waste carpet and carpet tiles saw 85,000 tonnes of waste carpet avoiding burial last year. CRUK’s target is 25% landfill diversion by 2015.

Of the 85,000 tonnes, the recycled and reused portion was 36,000 tonnes, while 49,000 tonnes was sent for energy recovery via cement kilns and power generation plants. Energy recovery grew by 44% or 15,000 tonnes as the high calorific value of carpets became more widely recognised and exploited.

The amount of waste carpet recycled grew in 2012 by 12.5% or 4,000 tonnes as new outlets have developed and established ones have grown.

Last year also saw record levels of carpet production offcuts – more than 6,000 tonnes – diverted from landfill by UK-based members of Carpet Recycling UK. These manufacturers prevented 6,049 tonnes of offcuts from the production process going into the ground – representing a diversion rate of 99% in 2012. Recycling was by far the majority outlet at 5,241 tonnes with only 808 tonnes used for energy recovery.

CRUK Director Laurance Bird said these achievements are 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.

"New recycling opportunities continuing to emerge as growing awareness is matched by practical endeavour, so it’s a positive story," said Laurance, highlighting increased recycling capacity at specialist facilities able to handle carpets via reuse, recycling and energy recovery.

"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," he added. "While an estimated 78.6% 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."

Councils will be an important focus after CRUK research showed the significant contribution that separating carpet waste at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) could make to diverting waste from landfill.

A study of HWRCs nationally found ten local authorities operating across 61 sites currently using dedicated bins to send carpet waste for recycling or energy from waste (EfW). These sites are collecting 14,620 tonnes of domestic carpets per year from 2.3 million households; equivalent to an average of 6.4 kgs of carpet waste per household per year.

During 2012 as demand for clean identified carpet offcuts increased, pilot trials have been introduced to capture the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes per annum being primarily landfilled from carpet fitting.

These pilots will evaluate the logistical challenges of collecting fitting offcuts from the domestic and commercial sectors through retailers, flooring contractors and distributors. One example is Dewsbury-based DC Waste Management which has launched a carpet fitting waste collection scheme for local carpet and flooring retailers in Yorkshire. Waste offcuts are sent to local recyclers, such as Pennine Blending in Huddersfield, where they are made into new products.

Other CRUK goals for 2013 include:

· 23.5% landfill diversion target
· Increasing reuse, recycling and energy recovery outlets, thus improving choice, collection and transport logistics across the UK
· Recruiting manufacturers, distributors, retail and flooring contractor members to help support collection infrastructure growth and in turn improve recyclate value
· Increasing awareness of carpet recycling opportunities and recycler initiatives across the value chain, including waste management and local authority decision-makers

CRUK is managed by resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting and welcomes enquiries from all types of organisations interested in recycling their waste carpet. Call 0161 440 8325 or visit www.carpetrecyclinguk.com.

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