CARE Grant Case Study: CLEAR

Posted on November 16, 2017


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Carpet Landfill Elimination and Recycling (CLEAR) received a CARE grant to purchase equipment for a new Northern California facility, which would process PET and polypropylene post-consumer carpet fibers. Processed fibers are made into pellets and sold to various companies for automotive, hardware, insulation and other products. CLEAR has also begun processing carpet backing, outside of the grant project scope.

LOCATION: Lincoln, CA

TIMELINE: April 2016-December 2017

CARE GRANT AMOUNT: $500,000

Grant funding covered 25% of the project start-up costs.

CLEAR operations photos

PROJECT CHALLENGES

Financing.

Procuring the right equipment of various types.

Finding reasonable space and power.

Access to labor.

Finding reasonable distance to raw goods.

Uncertainty, while customers may promise to take all of your goods, partnerships could take years to develop.

A trial run positive result does not guarantee success at a production scale level.

Carpet that was produced 5-20 years ago by various mills is difficult to remanufacture and sell as a consistent product.

Finding a good quality control manager to retain customer base. “Trying to sell a recycled product in a market where virgin material is relatively very cheap requires consistent quality and a reasonable price along with the incentives to begin a business relationship. One inconsistent load can lose a customer.”

GRANT BENEFITS

✔ CARE technical assistance: CARE facilitates business relationships for facility start-up, product development, and product expansion.

IMPLEMENTATION

✔ Securing appropriate facility.

✔ Securing all equipment.

✔ Testing equipment and getting it to work consistently and reliably.

✔ Reworking manufacturing process.

✔ Building product customer base.

✔ Meeting environmental standards.

PROJECT IMPACT

✔ 12 million pounds of processed output in first 6 months (as reported by grantee).

✔ 10 new California jobs in first 6 months.

✔ Demonstrated viability of more environmentally friendly feedstock products.

✔ 600,000 MTCO2e, assuming all polypropylene carpet was manufactured into engineered resin.

✔ CARE grants enabled CLEAR to build a line and develop markets for its PCC goods, which are manufactured into new products for sport surfaces, padding, engineered resins and other products.

 

This is one of a series of case studies that illustrate the impact of grant funding on the carpet recycling industry in California.
CARE will offer a Cycle 2 round of grants to support capital improvements and product testing in late 2017. Sign up for updates here.