When it’s time to pull that old carpet up and either replace it or go for the wood/concrete look, what can you do with it? Should you just throw it in the landfill like everyone used to do? Nope – you should recycle it! According to the Carpet America Recovery Effort, nearly 5 billion pounds of used carpet end up in landfills every year – this is not good. Typical carpeting contains all sorts of nasty chemicals like polyvinylchloride (PVC) and Polypropylene, which we don’t want sitting in landfills for years and possibly contaminating any groundwater. So, the only “safe” way of discarding carpet is to recycle it in some way, and here are a few things you can do:
1. If the carpet is still in good condition, consider donating it to a non-profit organization.
2. Check out the Carpet America Recovery Effort website, where you can find a list of carpet reclamation sites.
3. See if sites I have mentioned before like Earth911.org have any references you can use in your area.
4. If you live in or near Northern California, check out San Francisco Carpet Recycling.
5. When getting new carpet put in your house, ask your dealer/installer for references on recycling the old carpet.
If you will be installing new carpet, consider buying it from a company like Flor, which makes carpeting out of renewable and recyclable materials. I am planning on carpeting my home office with this stuff, and as much as I love our concrete floors, I am looking forward to having some carpet underfoot!