Carpet, according to current statistics, accounts for more than 70 per cent of all floor covering sales in the developed world, but have you ever thought about what happens to carpet that’s taken out of homes …
Deciding how to dispose of carpet has long been a challenge. Each year, hundreds and thousands of tonnes of carpet is buried in Australian landfills. When placed in landfills, synthetic carpets don’t ‘break down’, while wool carpet decomposes under anaerobic conditions to produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Not good! On top of that, there’s no telling how much carpet is ‘illegally’ dumped.
Increasingly, the carpet industry, businesses, homeowners and local authorities are looking for ways to divert carpet from the landfills. They are making the choice to help the planet, and new ways to recycle and reuse carpet are being developed. If you’re worried about what’s going to happen to your old carpet when you replace it, then you can rest easy knowing that it can be reused or recycled.
Recycle and Reuse
Recycling is one of the best ways to reduce the impact we have on the environment – it’s the process of making new products from an item or product that has come to its end-of-life or served its purpose. If old products are re-used in a new way or re-manufactured into new products, then waste has been reduced, and energy use and emissions have likely been reduced, too.
Over the past few years, Australia’s $1.5 billion carpet industry has been working on schemes to re-use or recycle old carpet. One good example of a company leading the way on the eco-friendly front is Dunlop – they have developed ‘EnviroTred’ – an underlay that’s 100% recyclable. Carpet can also be recycled into various building materials. There are companies popping up across Australia to either dispose of carpet responsibility, re-use it, or recycle it.
What To Do With Your Old Carpets ….
If they are in good condition: Get selling and make some money. You can sell online or put an advert in the local community bulletin board or paper.
Pass them on: Family and friends might need a piece of carpet, or you can pass it on for free online – there are plenty of websites devoted to this. Try Googling ‘freecycle’. Or, donate it to a charity or a re-use company – many of these will come and collect the old carpet from your home.
If they are past their best: Speak to your local gardener or gardening group – old carpet can be used to insulate composting heaps and to keep weeds under control on paths and garden plots. Carpets rich in wool also make good mulch! If you’re building a pond, use old carpet to line it before you put the pond liner in.
End-of-life: If you can’t reuse your carpet, you will need to dispose of it responsibly. Check if the local authority offers a collection service, or Google ‘Melbourne carpet recycling’ to see who can recycle it.