Fundamental support from Carpet Recycling UK’s core funders – Cormar Carpets, Lifestyle Floors/Headlam, Desso, ege, Milliken, Balsan and Marlings – has enabled the industry body to triumph in key areas and exceed its 2015 goal with a 31% landfill diversion rate for waste carpet.
In 2015, 125,000 tonnes of carpet were reused, recycled or recovered for energy – a 31% diversion rate which surpasses CRUK’s 25% target set at start up in 2008. Around 400,000 tonnes of waste carpet arises each year in the UK.
Energy recovery accounted for 81,000 tonnes (65%) and 44,000 tonnes (35%) were recycled, with both sectors showing similar growth levels. Growth was up by 11% compared to 2014 (113,000 tonnes diverted from landfill).
Commenting on their latest achievements, CRUK Director Laurance Bird praised the commitment and support from core funders and members, which have been crucial in helping to drive growth in recycling capacity. “Diverting waste carpet from landfill is now firmly established with new recyclers focusing on this material stream and existing recyclers adding capacity based on increased demands from local authorities and waste management companies.”
Energy recovery is a growing sector for waste carpet where it is used as an alternative fuel replacement in cement kilns as well as for incineration with energy recovery from municipal solid waste (MSW).
Retailers and flooring contractors are realising the benefits of recycling carpet offcuts as well as uplifted old carpets and changing their waste disposal practices to gain significant cost savings.
“Last year, enquiries from the flooring sector rose by 96% to 280 as a result of our broad communication initiatives; clear proof that more companies are interested in reducing their environmental impact and finding more sustainable disposal routes for waste carpet,” continued Laurance. Overall enquiries were up 15% at 780, reflecting greater awareness generally that carpet can avoid being landfilled.
CRUK’s advice and guidance to local authorities, including the London Waste and Recycling Board, has demonstrated the potential to further increase the recycling of carpets throughout the metropolitan area and other communities.
According to Laurance, local authorities across the UK have welcomed the opportunity to grow their recycling rates as the EU’s MSW targets for 2020 approach. “Finding sustainable and practical alternatives to landfill for bulky carpet waste will certainly help to ease the pressure in meeting these challenging future goals.”
CRUK continually gathers worldwide information on new technologies to extract maximum value from the raw materials in carpets which it shares with members. It is also broadening its experience through liaison with handlers of other challenging composite waste streams, particularly the plastics sector.
In 2015, the second annual Carpet Recycling Awards provided wide recognition for the innovations achieved by the specialist carpet reuse and recycling members across a broad range of categories. Highly-prized by recipients, businesses use these awards to demonstrate their capabilities with customers who are increasingly demanding sustainability credentials.
Laurance added: “Our 2015 achievements clearly show that carpet is now regarded as a valued raw material that presents opportunities for reuse in a variety of novel applications.”
CRUK welcomes enquiries from all types of organisations interested in recycling their waste carpet. Look out for the dates for this year’s Annual Conference and Awards to be announced soon. For more information, call 0161 440 8325 or visit www.carpetrecyclinguk.com.