Waste carpet is emerging as a serious raw material resource according to latest figures from Carpet Recycling UK that show 66,000 tonnes were diverted from landfill last year – representing an increase in the diversion rate from 10% in 2010 to 16.5% in 2011.
This figure is fairly evenly split between recycle and reuse (32,000 tonnes) and energy recovery, mainly in cement kilns (34,000 tonnes). The proportion of carpet sent for recycling has risen from 33% in 2010 to 48% in 2011 as new outlets have developed and established outlets have grown.
"It’s a fantastic achievement and testament to the on-going commitment and consistent efforts of all throughout the supply chain to make carpet recycling and diversion of this bulky waste from landfill a positive reality," commented Laurance Bird, Director of CRUK, an association of companies with 12 core funders that actively support the development of carpet recycling.
Managed by Axion Consulting, CRUK was set up by industry leaders to develop viable solutions to the nearly half a million tonnes of carpet waste landfilled in the UK each year. CRUK targets include 25% landfill diversion by 2015.
Laurance explained recycling capacity has increased in response to the growth in specialist facilities able to handle carpets in reuse, recycling and energy recovery processes. "It is encouraging to see the growth in the use of carpet fibres for equestrian surfaces and felts. There are now 32 specialist outlets contributing to these total diversion routes."
Carpet Recycling UK continued to support the Flooring Sustainability Partnership in 2011, ensuring that members’ interests and needs were understood and supported with a higher profile.
Laurance said awareness of carpet recycling opportunities had increased due to greater press coverage, including new online media, adding: "CRUK’s marketing activities at Ecobuild, Spring Flooring Show and Harrogate Floor Show has also gained attention for this new waste stream. As a result, enquiries from waste management companies and local authorities rose by 50% during 2011."
For more information, call Carpet Recycling UK on, 0161 440 8325 or visit www.carpetrecyclinguk.com.