California Carpet Recycling Rate Surpasses Goal for Second Year Running

April 5, 2024

2 Min Read
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Dalton, Ga. -- The California Carpet Stewardship Program has achieved an unheard-of carpet recycling rate of 35.1 percent for 2023. For the second year running, this far exceeds the goal (31 percent) set in the Program’s Five-Year Plan; the California carpet recycling rate is up 84 percent in five years and has more than tripled since 2015. This recycling rate for carpet has not been achieved anywhere else in the world. Since the program started, CARE recyclers have collected more than 650,000 tons (more than a billion pounds) of old carpet.

The Program’s success is boosting California’s economy: 79% of all recycled pounds were generated in the state and support more than 120 jobs in California. CARE has worked to position old carpet as an important feedstock for the burgeoning chemical recycling industry, which creates materials made from recycled carpet that are indistinguishable from the same products made from oil. The demand for these materials is expected to grow significantly as new plants come online.


CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples notes, “The California Carpet Stewardship Program’s successes have come in the face of significant headwinds challenging the industry: carpet sales (a factor in determining the recycling rate and the funding to run the program) have been declining for years. Additionally, the industry is impacted by depressed resin market prices, a drop in carpet cushion demand and prices, and insufficient supply of post-consumer carpet to support recycler operations and thus profitability. This is a complex situation, and the Program’s stakeholders are striving to maintain resilience in the face of these changes.These factors are adversely impacting all recycling programs. Despite the challenges, the Program is working well and steadily growing."

Carpet can be recycled when properly prepared and brought to a drop-off site that takes carpet for processing and recycling. The challenge is capturing the carpet for recycling before it goes to landfill. To that end, CARE runs 147 public drop-off sites across the state, to supplement the extensive private network of collection sites.

The California Carpet Stewardship Program works to increase collection of carpet by enabling and encouraging carpet collection from homeowners, contractors, retailers and installers. CARE also supports the development of markets for recycled carpet material, which include a variety of products, like automotive parts, house trim and siding, insulation, accessibility ramps, even bullet-resistant walls and doors.


About Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a voluntary, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the landfill diversion, reuse, and recycling of waste carpet, through market-based solutions that benefit the economy as well as the environment. CARE in charge of implementing the California Carpet Stewardship Program as required by California law AB 2398. CARE members include independent carpet recyclers, carpet manufacturers, dealers, retailers and suppliers and non-governmental organizations.

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