In January, 2002, many manufacturers voluntarily signed the National Carpet Recycling Agreement (NCRA) which encourages them to accept product stewardship and accountability. They have established a third party organization, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) to establish collection systems for used consumer carpet. They are evolving technologies for reclamation of carpeting through reuse and recycling. Innovations also include making reclaimed content backings, or no backing needed.
recycled carpets produced today can be "repurposed
(cleaned and refurbished for reuse) or down-cycled
(made into products other than carpet or into carpeting of lesser
quality). The higher the recycled content, the more sustainable
the carpeting. Technology is rapidly improving to convert used
fiber into new recycled content face fibers. As more used carpeting
becomes available and manufacturing plants adapt their facilities,
the percent of recycled post-consumer content should increase.
Post-industrial content, however, will drop as companies become
more efficient at reducing waste in the manufacturing process
and have less post-industrial waste to recycle.
Newest among the innovations is nylon 6 recovery and recycling
back into equal quality nylon 6. Nylon 6,6 is made of two elements
that can't be separated for reuse. Carpeting made from nylon 6,6
can only be down-cycled or repurposed. Carpeting made from nylon
6 is easily depolymerized. 99% of it can be recovered and made
again into nylon 6 carpet yarn of equal quality to the original.
Recycled PET polyester is made from post-consumer plastic soda
bottles. Recycled PET is superior to lower grades of virgin synthetic
fibers used in making other polyester carpet yarns. Shades can
be richer and brighter than those found in nylon yarns. At this
time, there are no programs to recycle used PET carpet back into
new carpet, but fibers can be recycled for other applications
(car parts, insulation, transportation devices, and stuffing for
furniture). The EPAs recommendations for recovered material
content for polyester face fiber is listed as 25-100% PET resin.
best ensure that you get the product you want, it is important
to note that the recycling logo on manufacturers specifications
or other literature can mean that the carpet is only recyclable,
and not necessarily that it contains recycled content.
points: possibly MR Credit 2 - Construction Waste Management,
MR Credit 3 - Resource Reuse, or MR Credit 4 for recycled content