Portland Demolition Contractors Talk Carpet Recycling Trends

Reuse Warehouse via FlickrAs Portland demolition experts, we’re accustomed to seeing articles on recycling concrete and scrap metal. Recently, however, we’ve been seeing more information on recycling carpet. In this blog, we examine one case study showing how carpet fiber can be reused in new projects. We also discuss which carpets are accepted for recycling, and how demolition contractors can prepare carpet for salvaging.

Carpet-Like Fiber Reborn as Composite Lumber. Since last November, contractors have been working to remove 27,000 tons of carpet-like fiber from a former rifle range in Warren, Maine. The fiber was intended as shot-and-sound containment material. Because it was considered a fire hazard, it had to be extracted. The local commissioner, Patricia Aho, prioritized reusing the fiber. Triumvirate Environmental won the contract to remove the material and reuse it in composite lumber, at no cost to the state.

Recycled carpet may be used for a variety of purposes, including parking stops, plastic lumber, and even automobile parts.

Carpet Fiber Matters. When recycling carpet, the type of fiber is key. Nylon carpets make up roughly half of the current carpet market in the U.S. They have the advantage of bringing the highest recycling rates, so they are highly valued among carpet salvage firms. Wool, Polypropylene, acrylics, and PTT (Polyethylene Trimethylene Terephthalate) carpets can also be recycled. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) fiber carpets are popular for their vibrant colors; however, PET carpets cannot be easily recycled through commercial facilities.

For Effective Carpet Recycling, Avoid Contamination. Portland demolition contractors who wish to salvage carpet should be aware that contamination is the primary barrier against recycling scrap carpet. To preserve the carpet for reuse, it must be handled carefully during removal. Tack strips and nails must be removed; otherwise, the whole load could be rejected as mixed materials. A single nail could destroy recycling equipment. Likewise, paint, drywall mud, body fluids, chemical or pharmaceutical contaminants, and asbestos must not be present if carpet is to be accepted for recycling.

Overall, the demolition and construction trend is toward increased carpet recycling. Since 2002, at least 3 billion pounds of carpet have been recycled. A new joint effort between CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) and CRI (the Carpet and Rug Institute) aims to increase the incidence of carpet recycling in America. The Voluntary Product Stewardship Program is offering funds to sorters and salvage yards that divert post-consumer carpet from landfills. For this inaugural year of the program, CARE and CRI members have donated  $4.5 million to support carpet recycling and reuse efforts. More information on this seminal program may be found at carpetrecovery.org.

As we continue to pursue earth-friendly industrial and commercial building demolition, Portland clients can rely on Elder Demolition to stay up-to-date on the latest carpet recycling opportunities.

[Photo by  Reuse Warehouse via CC License]

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