US carpet recycling volumes up in 2019 as industry faces headwinds in 2020

US carpet recycling volumes up in 2019 as industry faces headwinds in 2020

CARE report shows waste carpet recycling increased in 2019 as COVID-19-related shutdowns threaten industry in 2020.


Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), a Dalton, Georgia-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing the landfill diversion, reuse and recycling of waste carpet, has released its 2019 Annual Report. The report highlights progress made in waste carpet diversion during 2019, while addressing growing headwinds in 2020.

In 2019, CARE administered a $35 million operational budget, comprising core operations to serve its members, along with the Voluntary Product Stewardship Program (VPS) and the California Carpet Stewardship Program.

VPS program highlights included:

  • More than $2 million was paid in VPS subsidies in 2019.
  • Total gross U.S. collections were 335 million pounds, up from 281 million pounds in 2018.
  • 98 percent of the post-consumer carpet collected was processed in the U.S.

California Carpet Stewardship Program highlights included:

  • 82.1 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was collected before it could go to landfill.
  • 58 million pounds of recycled output was produced (up 18 percent from the 49.3 million pounds recycled in 2018).
  • The overall 2019 California recycling rate was 19.1 percent, up 25 percent versus 2018.

CARE announces addition progress made in 2019 included new members joining the organization’s recycling effort, new technology introduced into the sector and new products being developed and brought to market.

The organization singled out advances in chemical recycling as being particularly promising due to the volume of recycled material it could help divert once fully implemented.

“Progress was strong in 2019, and there was optimism for the first time in a long time for carpet recycling,” CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples says.

The report also includes an update on how the industry has been impacted thus far in 2020.

“Unfortunately, the carpet industry was not immune to the recession [from COVID-19], which resulted in plant closures and more than 10,000 jobs lost or furloughed. A difficult decision was made by the carpet industry leadership to terminate the VPS program effective June 30, 2020 to help offset lost revenues. This challenge is compounded by the potential for additional COVID-19 impacts as the economy moves to restart in the later part of Q2. Of equal concern is the loss of carpet recyclers and associated infrastructure during this recession.”