Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers first found their way into the carpet industry in the 1960s but it wasn’t until the 1990s that technology allowed ‘pop bottle carpets,’ or carpets made from recycled PET bottles, to take off.
One early example is Mohawk Industries everSTRAND® carpet. Since its introduction in 1999 everSTRAND®has saved more than 24 billion bottles from entering landfills. This breaks down to roughly 30 to 45 two-liter plastic bottles kept out of landfills for every square yard of PET carpet produced.
Beyond reducing the extraction of virgin materials for its production, because PET carpet is extraordinarily resistant to stains, it does not require the stain resistant treatments many nylon carpets undergo during their manufacture and lifetime. Furthermore, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, PET fiber can be easily dyed vibrant colors that are extremely fade resistant.
Accordingly, the success of Mohawk’s everSTRAND®carpet led the way for other carpet manufacturers to develop PET lines including Shaw’s ClearTouch® and Beaulieu’s Green Smart® carpets among others.
Over the past 20 years new technologies have been developed by carpet manufacturers that have contributed to the enhanced performance of PET carpet as compared to PET carpets from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Since PET carpets are extremely cost competitive, they are especially suited for Multi-family housing, where carpet is changed on a much higher replacement cycle than carpet from single family homes; Therefore PET carpet (on average) tends to have a shorter life cycle.
Subsequently, according to the results of CARE’s annual survey, PET carpet has rapidly grown to an estimated 24% of the total post-consumer carpet (PCC) collection stream. This is a noteworthy 5% increase in just one year and brings into question PET carpet’s primary challenge; what to do with post-consumer carpet?
Post-Consumer Carpet Fiber Type Trends, 2008-2012
CARE Annual Report, 2012
While the market to recycle PET carpet into fiber pad exists, it is quite small in comparison to the amount of post consumer PET carpet being collected. Thus, at this moment the majority of PET carpet diverted ends up either being landfilled or sent to waste to energy processes. Accordingly, finding viable markets for post-consumer PET carpet is one area where CARE is devoting increasing attention.
To begin, CARE has provided a platform for representatives of the plastics industry to openly exchange ideas with the carpet industry. Specifically, at CARE’s tenth annual conference in 2012 there were at least half a dozen representatives from the plastics industry in attendance. CARE continues to focus on the development of technologies for non-nylon face fiber with a variety of initiatives.
More recently CARE announced an opening for a PET Project leader to exclusively focus on the development of markets for post-consumer PET carpet. From the many applications received, CARE is excited to welcome an industry expert and long-time CARE board member, Frank Endrenyi. Frank is very excited about his new opportunity. As he points out, when he first started his involvement in CARE Nylon 6,6 was a fiber without a post-consumer market and now Nylon 6,6 has a variety of valuable outlets. With strategy and time he believes PET fiber will have its share of viable afterlives as well.
Stay tuned to learn more about Mr. Endrenyi’s background and the challenges and opportunities of his new position! In the meantime, if you have ideas on how to use PET fiber, please contact Frank at (404) 431-6050.
CARE is proud to announce its most recent partnership with CCA Global Partners.The partnership was appropriately broadcasted this week at Carpet One Floor & Home’s ‘Power of Partnership’ conference in Denver.
Founded in 1984, Carpet One Floor & Home is North America’s leading floor-covering retailer. Well-known for their Beautiful GuaranteeTM, which vows that customers will be 100% happy with their floor or the job redone, Carpet One Floor & Home has rapidly grown to almost 1,000 independently owned and operated stores in the United States and abroad.
CCA Global Partners is dedicated to helping independent business owners such as Carpet One Floor & Home reach a higher level of success both personally and professionally. Specifically, as a result of CCA guidance, Carpet One Floor & Home now provides members with creative, multi-media materials, a national website, and a team dedicated to every form of social media and public relations, among other advantages.
With 13 distinct businesses and more than 2,700 locations CCA Global Partnersis one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and has collectively produced annual sales in the billions of dollars.
Accordingly, CARE is very excited to now have CCA Global Partners on board as an official corporate sponsor. Bob Peoples, director of CARE, who was present at the conference said, “Our members have been asking to engage retailers. Carpet One is an outstanding way to do this and CCA Global Partners is an outstanding organization with which to work.” Carpet One Floor & Home also demonstrated their support by encouraging their members to extend their patronage to CARE as well.As Eric Damaree, President of Carpet One Floor & Home stated, “our partnership with CARE is just another way that we are helping our members to be more environmentally conscious” (PRWeb, 2013).
Overall the two-day event facilitated great networking between people passionate about what they do. Networking was enhanced by a mobile app that Carpet One Floor & Home developed for the conference so that attendees could conveniently access maps, speaker information, schedules, vendor information and social sharing.
Other conference highlights included the introduction of some alternative new flooring products such as Groutable LVT and Verostone, an appearance by TV personas ‘Accidental Housewife’ Julie Edelman, and a memorable closing event at Sport’s Authority’s Mile High field, the home of the Denver Broncos.
CARE looks forward to the future of their relationship with CCA Global Partners and the many exciting opportunities it will bring.
Hot off the press, CARE’s Annual Report to CalRecycle! Now on its 8th quarter as the Carpet Stewardship Organization approved by CalRecycle to manage AB2398, CARE is pleased to announce that data clearly indicates an increase in carpet being diverted from landfills but an increase in recycling as well. Specifically, 14% of the PCC stream is being recycled, 2% above the 2012 goal of 12%.
Recycled Output by Type as a Percent of Diversion
CARE Annual Report to CalRecycle, 2013
Reuse on the other hand remains low (0.14% of PCC stream) and is not expected to grow in the coming years.Increasing recycling and reuse are in essence the products of the other three interrelated goals of AB2398, namely:
1.Increasing the inherent recyclability of carpets
2.Diverting post-consumer carpet from landfills
3.Market growth of secondary products made from post-consumer carpet
With respect to market-growth of secondary products, roughly 25% (and growing) of the diverted carpet stream is PET. Due to polyester’s limitations in some of its physical and chemical properties, it does not currently have as wide a scope of market outlets as Nylon 6 or 66. However, CARE is diligently working with the recycling community and organizations on the development of new products and processes for this increasingly common fiber. Specifically, as approved by the Sustainable Fund Operating Committee (SFOC) during the June 2013 review, CARE will hire an individual to be “boots on the ground” in California and to work tackle opportunities for recycling non-nylon materials including PET. Some other plans looking forward for AB2398 include implementing a bonus incentive for Type 1 recycled output.
Check out future posts for a spotlight on organizations leading the way on PCC recycling. Until then, please refer to CARE’S hot off the press annual report to CalRecycle to get the latest information on AB2398; milestones, hurdles and more.
Sustainability is increasingly appealing to businesses and homeowners alike and thanks to a variety of incentives like LEED and NSF, the demand for post-consumer carpet (PCC) is growing every year. However, it takes open communication between manufacturers, retailers, collectors, entrepreneurs and consumers to make the reuse and recycle of PCC a reality and since CARE stepped up to the plate eleven years ago, it has made great strides in advancing its mission to promote market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of PCC and encourage design for recyclability.
In little over a decade CARE has grown to 452 members across the nation and facilitated the diversion of roughly 2.6 billion pounds of post-consumer carpet from landfills in the U.S., extending its reach every year. Considering carpet is estimated to take 20,000 years to breakdown, this is a huge success!
@Carpet Recycling UK
The goal of this blog is to highlight CARE’s advances and provide relevant information about the carpet recycling industry at large. We hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave comments.