Carpet Stewardship Toolkit: Accelerating Carpet Circularity in the USA

20th October 2018

by Mark Hilton

This report, commissioned by Changing Markets Foundation, outlines a number of policy options for US States to develop legislation to increase the recycling and reuse of carpets through carpet stewardship.

The majority of carpets in the US are made from oil-based plastics that can be recycled: however, currently only 5% of the 11 billion square feet of carpet sold every year is being recycled. Alongside the environmental impact of the industry, the carpets also contain hazardous substances that can have a damaging effect on indoor air quality and health.

This report, written by our Head of Sustainable Business Mark Hilton, found that carpet recycling and reuse can be significantly increased in the US by implementing an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach, which will in turn lead to job creation. The report sets out a range of options to help US States develop better Carpet Stewardship Bills, as well as suggesting other methods to help drive circularity in the carpet sector. These include:

  • progress on eco-design to facilitate reusability and recycling and where possible a reduction in the carbon and wider life cycle impacts of the materials used (e.g. through the use of substitute and recycled content materials, where they present no hazard);
  • a reduction and ultimately complete removal of toxic components within the carpets themselves (which may also restrict the use of recycled materials in the transition phase, when there are risks associated with legacy chemicals);
  • improved environmental management at end of life – i.e. collection, sorting and reprocessing (which may also be impacted by carpet fitting techniques); and  an accompanying shift in the financial burden away from taxpayers/citizens to producers/consumers.

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and provide a few details about yourself to access the download.