The year 2020 presented unimaginable challenges for all of us, and CARE’s grant-funded carpet recyclers and collectors were no exception. Yet despite unprecedented headwinds, many grantees kept pace with 2019 metrics or made strides toward new objectives by year’s end.
In 2020 the Program awarded six capital grants and three testing grants to nine companies, and seven micro grants to seven California-based post-consumer carpet (PCC) public drop-off sites or flooring retailers source separating PCC for recycling. These three grant cycles awarded approximately $2.2 million in grant funding, and nearly 70 percent is designated for California-based companies. Four new PCC collectors came online as a result of the program, as well as two new rural counties that did not previously have a public PCC drop-off site. Since CARE’s grant program began, more than 80 percent of funding has been awarded to California companies. Capital projects are projecting at least 25 million additional post-consumer carpet pounds collected, processed or manufactured into new products in 2021.
Prior Grantees Keep Up the Pace and Reach Milestones
Grant-funded capital projects launched prior to 2020 resulted in over 30 million pounds of recycled output or PCC in finished secondary products. They also resulted in more than 15 million additional pounds of PCC collected for recycling. Most notably, Aquafil’s new PCC processing plant in Woodland, Calif., and the third in the state became operational, and Los Angeles Fiber Co. in Vernon, Calif., took the final steps in starting up its dust plant, which significantly increases PCC processing yield. Two California recyclers also began accepting commercial broadloom carpet for processing. Cycle 3 testing grantees awarded in 2020 are exploring four new applications or products for PCC use. Cycle 2 testing grantees Visions Environmental and Green Hive Group, both located in Northern California, made progress toward opening markets for their new products. Visions will now be selling its decorative landscape products, containing carpet backing material known as PC4, in more than 400 Walmart stores.
Micro Grants Expand Collection
The Cycle 3 micro grants program (Cycle 3M) launched a new concept in 2020: small, easy-to-maneuver trailers for flooring contractors source separating PCC at job sites for recycling. In all, three Sacramento-based flooring retailers were awarded this type of equipment. Cycle 3M also awarded five containers for PCC collection and recycling at three new retailer accounts and in two counties that previously did not have carpet recycling programs. Cycle 1 and 2 micro grantees also collected over 8 million pounds of California-sourced PCC as a result of their grant funding. Cycle 3 micro grants are expected to result in at least 2 million additional pounds collected in 2021.
New Cycles Planned
CARE anticipates launching Cycle 5 of its capital grants program, and Cycle 4 of its testing grants program in April. CARE also opened Cycle 4 of its micro grant program this month, and interested entities may now apply through CARE’s new, easy-to-use online grant application form.
For questions about the CARE grants program, please email Abbie Beane, CARE grants administrator, at ABeane@CarpetRecovery.org.
For more information about current grant cycles and grant awardees, visit our Grants page.
CARE is pleased to announce a total of $3.2 million in proposed Cycle 2 grant awards to 19 public and private entities; 16 of 20 projects are located in California and over 75 percent of grant funds are proposed for California-based projects. Combined, the grant-funded projects represent approximately 80 million new annual of PCC movement in California which includes: recycled output (Type 1 or PC4) and Tier 2 manufacturing pounds. The projects also represent roughly eight million new annual pounds in collected California PCC, along with 133 new California jobs. Grantees are now going through the contracting process before awards are final.
Eight Cycle 2A Capital Improvement grants will support capital investment, infrastructure and/or equipment that will process or manufacture products utilizing California post-consumer carpet. Six Cycle 2B Product Testing and Development grants will support efforts to investigate the use of California PCC to manufacture established products, test or certify new or reformulated products, and/or feasibility studies on potential new uses of post-consumer carpet (PCC) materials. Six Cycle 2M Micro grants will support efforts to establish or improve reuse and collections operations in California. Each proposal was screened, evaluated, and scored by an independent Technical Committee of experts using the criteria set forth in CARE’s grant proposal solicitations under each award category.
For a complete list of awards and grantees, see below.
Cycle 2A Capital Improvements Awardees
Aquafil, Woodland CA, $250,000 initial and additional $250,000 when operational: The grant recipient proposes to use pelletizing equipment to recycle nylon into new carpet at its new Woodland, CA facility. Polypropylene and PC4 are designated for other Tier 2 products.
ArrowStar, Dalton GA, $194,500: Grant funds would be used to convert PET post-consumer carpet to polyols for use in manufacturing urethanes used in floor underlayment, carpet backing and spray foam insulation.
Circular Polymers, Lincoln CA, $500,000: This project proposes to use grant funds to expand Tier 1 processing capacity of proprietary RIS technology and a conveyance system which would expand product offerings among all fiber types and PC4 for Tier 2 products.
Green Hive Group, Chico CA, $204,234: This company proposes to use grant funds for bagging technology for PC4 material for its spill cleanup project, marketed to small and large retailers and auto shops. Testing is also being done to prove recyclability of the product.
Interface, Phoenix AZ, $160,021: Grant funds would be used to move additional Tier 2 tile processing and reuse capacity to California, creating one new California manufacturer.
LA Fiber, Los Angeles CA, $500,000: Grant funds would be used for further Tier 1 processing capacity to purify PC4 and increase yield over 30 percent. This project would also reduce facility dust.
SaN Pallets, Troy OH, $250,000: The project proposes to manufacture Tier 2 products, end caps and pallets, using PET, polypropylene and PC4 with polymer stamping technology. The manufacturer is exploring setting up a plant in California in 2019.
Visions Environmental, Oroville CA, $260,360: Grant funds would be used to purchase equipment for Tier 2 manufacturing using PC4 in Double Green products. Products include blocks, car stops, fencing and aggregate.
Cycle 2B Product Testing Awardees
3B Protection, Perris CA, $200,000: The project proposes to complete multi-stage testing of ballistic barriers using PC4 in this new Tier 2 application.
CMJ Systems, Phoenix AZ, $198,700: Grant funds would be used to test and certify post-consumer reinforced concrete as an alternative to steel- or sand/gravel-reinforced concrete.
ReFiber, Sacramento CA, $36,600: The grant proposes testing of fiber in water infiltration, septic and road reinforcement applications for use in the City and County of Sacramento.
SwissTrax, Indio CA, $164,750: The project will complete testing and certification of post-consumer carpet in Tier 2 modular flooring tile products.
Verdex Technologies, Richmond VA, $195,000: The project proposes testing and certifying post-consumer carpet PET in spinning nozzle technology to blend micro and large fibers into high margin nonwoven applications such as filters and acoustics.
Visions Environmental, Oroville CA, $50,147: The project proposes to complete quality control and R&D testing of PC4 in stones, concrete and other new products.
Cycle 2M Micro Grant Awardees
City of Berkeley, Berkeley CA, $14,000: The project plans to purchase a weather cover carport to keep PCC clean and dry year-round for a new collection site in Alameda County.
City of LA, Los Angeles CA, $13,000: Grant funds would be used to lease a truck for 11.5 days to collect curbside PCC as a bulky item material from residential areas. This pilot pick-up service would provide data to inform similar programs.
Global Material Services, Santa Rosa CA, $13,805.76: Grant funds would be used to purchase a weather cover to allow for 12 months of PCC collection, compared to 6 months of collection currently in Santa Rosa.
San Joaquin County, North County Recycling Center and Sanitary Landfill and Lovelace Materials Recovery and Transfer Station, $14,063.98: The project would purchase two weather cover carports for two established CARE drop-off sites in San Joaquin County, allowing for year-round collection.
Zanker Recycling, Florin Perkins, Sacramento CA, $15,000: Grant funds would be used to purchase five lids to retrofit containers used for collection from local retailers in the Sacramento area.
Zanker Recycling, San Jose CA, $15,000: The project proposes to purchase a covered structure and pad for collection and weather protection of a new PCC drop-off site in Santa Clara County.
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Recognized for Achievement in Coalition Building by California Product Stewardship Council
CARE grantee and valued recycling partner Planet Recycling (Chula Vista) has been awarded the 2017 Bow & Arrow Award for Coalition Building, presented by the California Product Stewardship Council. The custom-designed award, made of recycled materials by Bay Area artist Ellen Blakeley, was presented at CPSC’s Arrow Awards ceremony on August 22 at the California Resource Recovery Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow in San Diego. The annual Arrow Awards recognize innovative product stewardship programs, and outstanding partnerships in product stewardship, and serve to inspire organizations to integrate principles of product stewardship in their operations.
After 18 years in the carpet recycling business (in Arizona and California), Planet Recycling, Inc’ s motto is “Recycling Your World, Saving Our Planet, One Yard at a Time!” The award went to Planet Recycling in recognition of:
- Their partnership with two San Diego landfills to promote carpet reuse and recycling by directing it to manufacturers or remanufacturers.
- Their work with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, to which they supply carpet for reuse in support of the non-profit’s mission.
- Their extensive stakeholder education efforts, informing consumers, retailers, installers, homeowners, city agencies and contractors about the opportunities and benefits of carpet recycling.
“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Planet Recycling team,” noted owner Rachel Palopoli. “For 10 years now in Chula Vista, California, our company has been dedicated to fostering the partnerships that lead to increased reuse and recycling of carpet, which makes for a cleaner, healthier, less wasteful world.”
Planet Recycling has been an active participant with CARE since its inception. Owner Rachel Palopoli serves on the California Council on Carpet Recycling. The company received a Micro-Grant this year to purchase four 40-yard roll-off containers to increase localized collection of post-consumer carpet at retail sites in San Diego.
As a result of CARE’s pilot grant program launched in 2016, so far three new processors have begun recycling post-consumer carpet (PCC), adding millions of pounds of recycled output, 14 new California jobs and over a dozen new recycled carpet products.
In the spring of 2016, CARE’s California Carpet Stewardship Program awarded approximately $2 million in grant funding for six Capital Improvement and three Product Testing projects. 85% of the grant funding was awarded to California-based projects.
The grant funding supports capital investment, infrastructure and/or equipment that will process or manufacture products utilizing California-generated PCC, as well as product testing and research and development activities that investigate the use of PCC to manufacture established products, test or certify new or reformulated products and/or feasibility studies on potential new uses of PCC.
Awarded projects represent a significant expansion in California PCC capacity through:
- Enhanced or improved operations at one existing California facility,
- Support of one out-of-state pilot using California PCC with potential for in-state operations in future years and
- Establishment of four new PCC operations and processors in California (a 200% increase in the number of California PCC facilities).
As of January 2017, two Capital Improvements grantees, SafePath Products (Chico, CA) and CLEAR (Lincoln, CA), have moved into their new California facilities and begun production of Tier I and Tier II (consumer) products using carpet backing, PET and polypropylene. In addition, Sierra Mat & Rubber in Modesto became a new processor of Double GreenTM products that include both California recycled rubber and carpet backing material. American Fiber Cushion (AFC) also has expanded its Tier I processing operations in Georgia. AFC is also considering a new plant in California. If approved, the plant would be operational some time in 2018.
Under the Product Testing grants program, GHD Inc., in partnership with Humboldt State University, has submitted a draft feasibility study examining PCC’s physical properties for civil engineering applications.
At the end of 2016, grantees under the Capital improvements program had generated approximately 14 million additional pounds of recycled output, increasing total annual recycled output by 50 percent for 2016. Unfortunately, these gains were negated by a significant drop in recycled output by two other processors due to market and technical issues for their operations, but points to the potential increases in future years as facility operations rebound. In 2017, these grantees are expected to add tens of millions of pounds of additional recycled output. As a result, these projects have created 14 new California jobs in 2016; dozens of new recycling jobs are projected in 2017.
Under new Capital Improvements grant projects, a total of 10 new products were created, with an additional seven in progress. Completed products include carpet pad, shelving, toolboxes, ramps and transitions, landscape pavers and commercial mats. A copy of the 2017 products catalog may be found here. Information on Double GreenTM and other PCC products can be found here. The CalRecycle Buy Recycled guides can be found here.