Recycling carpets in California will save landfill space

By Alison Hawkes

Photo: K-State Libraries

Of the myriad of things cramming California landfills, discarded carpets are taking up lots of space. About 400 million pounds are tossed each year, equating to 39 million gallons of oil, says the non-profit Carpet America Recovery Effort.

Could California do better? State lawmakers think so. Last tear they passed a law that requires a 5-cent per square yard assessment on carpet starting this July that will be used to encourage carpet recycling. The recovered carpet will be used, as it already is, in the manufacture of new carpet, in building materials, and in products for the consumer and automotive industries.

The assessment will be put on all carpets sold or shipped into California and will appear as a separate after-tax item on receipts as a way to raise awareness of recycling with consumers.

The law places few demands on carpet manufacturers — just that they participate in a “carpet stewardship program” and conduct consumer education. For better or worse, it’s consumers themselves who will make the law a success. Consumers will be the ones to make the choice to recycle rather than toss carpet into a garbage can. And shoppers will  drive the market for recycled products that are made from recycled carpet.

Here’s hoping that happens. CARE maintains a list of carpet reclaimers in California, here. It’s not exhaustive (only two are in the Bay Area). Alternatively, Recology, the company that currently manages San Francisco’s recycling program will also accept carpets. with special pick-up or drop-off at the San Francisco collection site.

Tags: landfill, recycling

3 Responses to Recycling carpets in California will save landfill space

  1. Gail Brice on 06/10/2011 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks for publishing this important article. The California carpet stewardship program is being watched by many states and will expand if successful here. This has a huge potential to benefit the environment – Over 4 billion pounds of carpet is disposed in the U.S. Annually – 3.5% of all waste dispose. As carpet is petroleum-based, this wastes over 1.8 billion gallons of oil and causes an additional 40 million metric tons (carbon equivalent) of greenhouse gases to be emitted into the atmosphere. Consumers should know that all carpet recyclers are not equal. Many only recycle the face fiber, less than 20% of the carpet with the rest going to landfill. I’m with in Oakland, we also process the carpet backing and harvest those resources for reuse. Thanks again for your article.

  2. matt on 06/27/2011 at 1:36 pm

    Are there options for recycling/reuse of carpet in Sonoma County?

  3. Alison Hawkes on 06/27/2011 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t know offhand, but check out the listing on or call them. They seem most helpful!

Featured Video

"It's gettin' real in the Whole Foods parking lot" by Smog and Fog Films.

Follow Us!

Recent Comments

Jerry: The statement that the SF Public Utilities Commission is developing local w...
Tree Removal Brisbane: We all love trees!...
Howard Wong: The high risk to the City's finances is a real concern---because the Federa...
MROSD: Thank you for taking an interest in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Di...
Mark: If we're financially responsible for the trees fronting our property, I sur...
Anon: So they didn't consider to include non-business owners? What gives?...
Ultra-Humanite: I believe it's called survival of the fittest for a reason....
Mark: Just leave mother nature alone and if that means the demise of the spotted ...
Michelle Burke: If property owners are fined $500 per tree because they failed to give near...
Chris: Reduce City workers benefits to reasonable standards and the City will sudd...

Field Notes Blog

Report: San Francisco faces water-related dangers

San Francisco  has been identified as one of the most vulnerable cities in the nation when it comes to water-related impacts of climate change....
Read more »

Builders cheer demise of California environmental law

Upon attending the West Coast Green events at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week, I was thrilled to find out that Governor...
Read more »

Recycling carpets in California will save landfill space

Of the myriad of things cramming California landfills, discarded carpets are taking up lots of space. About 400 million pounds are tossed each year,...
Read more »

Got News?

Send story tips or news items for The Daily Catch:

[email protected]

We want to hear from you!

Who we are

Way Out West is a news site for the Bay Area dedicated to daily coverage of local green news.

We're camping out at public meetings, traipsing through parks, and sticking our noses into green tech research to bring you relevant local stories that matter.

WOW is produced by two local environmental journalists for you, our eco-savvy readers. We'd love to hear what you want from this site.