Specifier Review

60% increase in waste carpet landfill diversion in two years, says Carpet Recycling UK

Some 42,000 tonnes of carpet waste were diverted from landfill in 2010; representing a 60% increase in landfill diversion of the material compared to 2009, trade body Carpet Recycling UK has announced.

Currently around 10% of the 420,000 tonnes of carpet waste arising each year is being diverted from landfill. Of this 10%, 3.5% is recycled with the rest fed into energy from waste schemes, delegates at CRUK’s third annual conference heard in July.

“Such progress is very encouraging and we are on course to achieve 25% landfill diversion by 2015, however it is important to keep the momentum going,” said CRUK Co-ordinator Jane Gardner, of Axion Consulting, which manages the industry-backed association for recycling and reusing waste carpet.

“I feel our third CRUK Annual Conference provided a platform for members from across the carpet value chain to network and gain increased awareness of recycling outlets, current achievements and, of course, the challenges that still lie ahead,” she commented. “Additionally, we welcome WRAP’s (Waste & Resources Action Programme) decision to focus on textiles in their new three-year Business Plan as a further driver that will help us to achieve our goals.”

Targets for 2011 include diverting 50,000 tonnes (12%) from landfill and increasing recycling outlets to 40 across the UK, conducting further collection trials and attracting additional funding to support technical work on end market development.

Well over 100 delegates from across the carpet supply and recycling chain, including Europe and even Australia, attended the two-day event at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Birmingham. It covered key developments in tackling carpet waste, including latest recycling technologies and new outlets for recovered material, design for recycling and workshops on tile re-use opportunities, ID equipment, legislative changes and environmental regulations.

Delegates heard that CRUK membership has increased to 62 members across the supply chain with 14 carpet manufacturers providing core funding. Manufacturing members diverted from landfill 4,000 tonnes of their post-industrial waste, such as offcuts, in 2010. Both hard and soft waste was recycled in high value applications, such as underlay.

Specialist carpet recyclers in the UK have increased from 6 to 24 in the last two years, comprising 8 re-use specialists and 16 recycling and fuel flock producers. On-going research into innovative outlets and end markets for recycled carpet waste continued with 50 small-scale development trials undertaken last year. These included bitumen and fibre recovery from carpet tiles, wool and polypropylene reprocessing.

In his keynote speech, Frank Hurd, Vice President of CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) highlighted major progress in US carpet collection and recycling activities, which diverted 5.6% or 338 million lbs of America’s 3.6 billion lbs annual carpet waste from landfill in 2010 and 80% of this was recycled.

He said: “CRUK’s impressive progress is testament to the commitment of the industry working together to find the best solutions. We can learn quite a lot from the UK.”

Positive delegate feedback reflected the buoyant mood, as Jerry Green, Managing Director of Greenback Recycling Ltd observed: “It’s been good and we’ve gained some new ideas and concepts we can develop for re-using carpet waste from the Entrepreneurs Day.” Similarly, Mike Collins, Technical Manager at Abingdon Flooring, commented: “There was definitely a more high-tech approach with evidence of higher value applications for carpet waste. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations and the chance to network over the two days was very useful.”

For more information, call 0161 440 8325 or visit www.carpetrecyclinguk.com.