Contact: Robert Peoples, Carpet America Recovery Effort (706) 428-2115
Pensacola, Florida, May 3, 2004 – In its continuing efforts to foster market-based solutions for the recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet, the board of directors for the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) announced winners of the organization’s second cycle of CARE grants.
Three winners were chosen from a list of proposals submitted by companies and entrepreneurs and announced April 29 at CARE’s Second Annual Conference. Together, the three winners received grants totaling $103,250. The companies awarded grants were: Environmental Recovery & Consolidation Services (ERCS) in Massachusetts; NY Wa$teMatch and CarpetCycle LLC in New York, and Blue Ridge Recycling in North Carolina.
“CARE is in the process of laying a solid foundation for a new industry in the United States. This new industry will be built by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are driven by their commitment to a mission and the need to make money. CARE continues to promote numerous entrepreneur relationships and through this program is able to provide financial support to promising entrepreneurs,” said Robert Peoples, PhD, executive director of CARE.
“It is vital that we find markets and help create demand for products and technology in order to bring new products to the commercial sector if we are to meet our national goals for landfill diversion of discarded carpet,” said Dr. Peoples.
This is the second wave of grants CARE has awarded, coming on the heels of last year’s $92,000 in grants.
“It is rewarding to be able to provide these grants, knowing that possibilities are endless in our quest to create markets for post-consumer carpet. We received a lot of promising proposals this year, and look forward to being able to provide more grant monies in the future for many more deserving entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Peoples.
Both ERCS in Massachusetts and the CarpetCycle LLC and NY Wa$teMatch team were awarded grants of $40,000 each. Blue Ridge Recycling received a grant for $23,250.
CarpetCycle LLC and NY Wa$teMatch are currently teaming their efforts to increase landfill diversion rates of post-consumer carpet in the New York metropolitan region. The NY Wa$teMatch program has a mission to foster environmentally-sound economic development through innovative solid waste reduction and resource recovery strategies. CarpetCycle LLC is one of a few select carpet collection/recycling companies still operating.
“They have a nice infrastructure for collection in place in the New York metropolitan area and part of this money will go directly to marketing efforts targeting potential recipients and suppliers of post-consumer carpet for re-use,” said Dr. Peoples.
The grant will also help subsidize storage space for carpet that cannot move directly from donor to recipient. Another portion of the money will be used to offset transportation and labor costs for not-for-profit organizations such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens, or others who cannot afford to do so. The organizations expect to divert more than a million pounds of post-consumer carpet through these efforts provided by the grants.
ERCS will use its grant to aid in the challenges currently facing the Massachusetts market in regard to collection and recycling of post-consumer carpet. Marketable products are being developed using post-consumer carpet, but the outlets are experiencing problems receiving a sufficient supply of post-consumer carpet.
“A big part of the problem assessed by the ERCS is that the end users — the dealers, retailers, the architectural community, and demolition contractors – have a very limited understanding and knowledge of the availability of carpet recycling and its costs,” said Dr. Peoples.
In order for ERCS to start a collection program for post- consumer carpet, an immediate emphasis must be applied to sales and marketing, and ERCS will use the grant funds to lease space and equipment, and help in the sales and marketing costs. ERCS estimates the grant will allow 20 million pounds of carpet to be processed in the first year.
Blue Ridge Recycling plans to use its grant funding for market development of a landscape stepping stone manufactured from shredded post-consumer carpet.
“This is really an exciting adventure because of the research involved in this project. If it proves successful, then carpet recycling would gain greater exposure to a wide variety of entrepreneurial ideas and markets,” said Dr. Peoples.
The proven viability of manufacturing stepping stones using post-consumer carpet can be duplicated many times around the country, producing a variety of products. The development of these new products and markets will give carpet recycling more exposure and recognition, and a much needed boost as a viable alternative to landfill disposal.
“We have already begun to see potential from the grants we provided a year ago, and look forward to seeing where these grants will take us in the near future. We are funding the kinds of ideas we believe will help us meet the challenge of turning discarded post- consumer carpet into a valuable feedstock,” said Dr. Peoples.