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Carpet recycling facilities help boost above target rates

Figures released by Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) show that 107,000 tonnes of carpet were reused, recycled or recovered in the UK in the past year, an increase of 21 per cent on the previous 12 months.

This landfill diversion rate of 27 per cent means news worth celebrating for those at CRUK as it exceeds the original target of 25 per cent, two years early to boot.

The target stems from 2008 when CRUK was established to try to tackle the 400,000 tonne-mountain of waste carpet created in the UK each year.

The success has been put down to an increase of 15-45 local authorities providing dedicated carpet collection facilities. CRUK has helped shift perceptions of the value of carpet waste too and now hopes to divert 60 per cent of waste carpet from landfill by 2020, says director Laurance Bird.

“We are confident that this can be reached given the progress rate over the past five years as the demand for carpets as a material stream has increased steadily.

“Carpet is now regarded as a beneficial resource from which valuable raw materials can be extracted for reuse in a second life. The possibilities are growing all the time as entrepreneurs from a complete cross-section of manufacturing and commercial enterprises continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved.”

Ordinary domestic households are the main source of carpets which are sent to local authority recycling centres and bulky waste collections when they are no longer wanted. “Councils continue to be an important focus for us as we encourage more to engage in collecting carpets, which increases their site recovery rates and saves raw materials for re-use or primary fuel replacement,” said Bird.

“Carpets from commercial sources such as flooring contractors and retailers are increasingly being segregated so that disposal costs can be reduced and materials recovered rather than being mixed with other wastes to end up in landfill.

“Scotland has introduced compulsory material segregation for commercial businesses from January 1st 2014 to stop loss of valuable materials going to landfill. This has to be welcomed and other UK regions will be watching this closely.”

By Lucy

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