Apr 27 - Carpet Recycling Still Low

Share CARE, the Carpet America Recovery Effort, released their 2009 annual report today. Carpet consumes significant landfill space - in 2009, approximately 3,009,900 tons of carpet were generated in the U.S.; of that, 2,943,500 tons were discarded in the landfill. CARE's recycling and diversion numbers are still dismally low from their target goal. Their recycling rate is still at 4%, while their recycling goal for 2009 was 21%.

The national organization is funded on a voluntary basis by donations from the various industry members. While this has enabled the organization to get started, it is evident from the low recycling rates that such funding is not sufficient to implement the MOU goals.

AB 2398 by Assembly Member John Perez would require carpet manufacturers to participate in a carpet product stewardship program; this means in order to sell carpet in California, carpet manufacturers must identify financing method to collect, transport and process the carpet at the end of life and implement their stewardship plan. CARE's Board of Directors have acknowledge the need for a financing mechanism as a major recommendation in the 2007 annual report (pg. 15) which states "CARE must establish a sustainable and robust financing mechanism for the CARE organization."

AB 2398 has the added benefit of creating new green jobs for the carpet recycling industry.

Below is a chart that compares the progress of CARE with their Memorandum of Understanding (also found in 2009 annual report).