When we renovated our house in 2002, we tore up many square yards of 1970s chocolate-brown carpet that had seen better days. In 2002, there was no other place for it but landfill. Carpet may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of the waste stream, but consider this: 6.5 billion pounds of used carpet are torn up every year and comprises 4% of all landfill — enough to cover Prince Edward Island, every year. Because synthetic carpet it is made of plastic, ALL of the synthetic carpet that has ever been made and discarded is still sitting in landfill — plastic takes between 500-1000 years to degrade. Furthermore, because synthetic carpet is made out of plastic, it is a recyclable product can be reused as a feed stock for making new items out of plastic.
In fact, for every yard of carpet that is recycled, 0.5 gallons of oil is saved. So maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot, but imagine if we could divert all of the carpet annually from landfill, we’d avoid using billions of gallons of crude oil and avoid emitting its equivalent greenhouse gases every year.
Aspera Recycling has teamed up with The Rosedale Group, a large Canadian logistics company, to recycle old carpet that would otherwise go straight to landfill. The program targets carpet retailers, architects and designers, carpet installers and even homeowners. Further, while there are other carpet recyclers out there, Aspera sorts every part of the carpet so that it can be converted into plastic pellets ready to be reused for new plastic products. While currently Aspera focuses solely on sorting and separating the different parts of the carpet, Scott Grantham, Territory Manager for Aspera, told me that in 6-9 months Aspera plans to have a fully integrated processing plant which will convert the sorted material into plastic pellets ready for reuse. In fact, recycling the carpet makes the process completely closed loop, reduces the need to little or no new crude oil in the manufacturing process. Currently, a pilot project has been launched in Ontario with the program set to go nationwide in a few months.
There is a cost associated with participation in the program, depending on the area in which a company is working, or the volume of carpet a company works with, sometimes it can be either cost neutral or a less than tipping fees associated with carpet dumping.
For more information on the program, or to see how you can participate, visit Aspera Recycling’s website.
If you’re a homeowner and are about to purchase new carpet, ask your retailer if it participates in a recycling program.
A few of the participating companies are:
All Home Depot locations across Ontario.
A few Alexanian locations around the Greater Toronto Area
S&R Flooring Concepts, Richmond Hill, ON
Golia Flooring, Niagara Falls, ON
To find a retailer near you who participates in the program, contact Scott Grantham: firstname.lastname@example.org