Janet Herlihy previewed CARE’s 13th Annual Conference in a recent issue of Floor Covering Weekly. Click here to view the full article, and be sure to join us May 13-14 in New Orleans!
When Dr. Bob Peoples, executive director of Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) opens the 13th Annual CARE Convention, May 13 – 14 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, there will be a lot of news to report as well as opportunities to network, a top priority for the entrepreneurs and the vendors who participate.
CARE members, who are postconsumer (PC) carpet collectors, sorters and entrepreneurs, will be interested in hearing about the new Voluntary Product Stewardship (VPS) program that was organized by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and CARE during 2014. (The VPS program excludes California because California AB 2398 already has an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law.) VPS will help PC carpet sorters of all fiber types in the rest of the country by providing financial assistance.
When VPS was announced in December 2014, Dan Frierson, chairman of the board of CRI, said, “CRI is pleased to offer financial support for the VPS Program. Our members (carpet manufacturers) are participating voluntarily as part of our government relations’ activities and have committed $4.5 million for the program’s initial year. The VPS Program will be a bridge for sorters as new technologies and applications are developed to increase market driven demand for all post-consumer carpet.”
CARE will act as the stewardship organization for the VPS Program, which is expected to run for two years, Peoples said, adding, “The first reports from the sorters were due in April and we expect to get the first payments out in June.”
The carpet industry has been very supportive of furthering PC carpet recycling. “The carpet industry has invested more than $300 million to use PC carpet,” Peoples noted. Currently, PC carpet is recycled into a variety of carpet tile backings and PC nylon 6 carpet is recycled by several companies back into carpet yarn in a closed loop system. “In fact, more than 45 percent of all PC carpet that gets recycled goes back into carpeting,” Peoples reported.
Dr. Richard Parnas of the University of Connecticut will report initial progress on its work under a University Grant to find market-based solutions for keeping PC PET carpet out of landfills. Peoples explained, “CARE released a University Grant RFP (request for proposals) in July 2014. The University of Connecticut was selected after a thorough evaluation of six proposals for the $500,000 grant and notified in November.”
CARE will also report on interactions with leaders from states including South Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts and Illinois to help figure out market-based solutions to keep PC carpet out of landfills.
There will be several potential markets discussed for the use of PC polyester carpet, which has been growing in the waste stream as PET’s share in residential and multi-family housing has increased.
There is news as well on CARE’s involvement as the designated Carpet Stewardship Organization for the California Carpet Stewardship Program, where there has been a change in the assessment fee under California Law AB 2398. As of April 1, the fee became $0.10 per square yard at the point of sale on all carpet sold and/or shipped in California. The 5 cents per square yard increase adds less than $5 to the cost of carpeting for the average home, according to CARE.
AB 2398 was designed to increase landfill diversion and recycling of PC carpet generated in California. It has required all carpet manufacturers to add a stewardship assessment fee onto all carpet sold in the state since July 1, 2011. Peoples added, “In light of changing market conditions, this update is being made to ensure continuous meaningful progress toward AB 2398’s goals.”
In 2014, CARE collected about $5 million from the California program and the increase should bring that to about $10 million in 2015, Peoples noted. “With the $4.5 million from the VPS program, CARE will grow to close to a $15 million stewardship program in 2015.”