Monday, June 15, 2009

Recycling carpet?

One of the people I talked with at MiaGreen was Tony Lundy from Resource 4 Floors, a Fort Lauderdale flooring company committed to sustainability.

First some background on carpet waste:

According to recent statistics, over 4 BILLION pounds of carpet end up in U.S. landfills each year. In Europe, 30 million square metres of carpet tiles are sent to landfills or are incinerated each year.

Companies like Resource 4 Floors are working to reduce those numbers by offering recycling programs for used carpet and carpet squares. And it's working! According to their website, they've successfully kept over 346,755 pounds of carpet out of South Florida landfills.

Until I spoke with Tony, I had no idea carpet was recyclable. Nor did I know that flooring represented such a huge part of the waste stream.

And the problem is actually growing, because companies using carpet squares for ease of installation are just throwing away and replacing soiled squares rather than cleaning them.

According to Tony and other specialists I consulted, the green challenge would be for companies who enjoy the easy installation of carpet squares to:

1)Use quality, earth-friendly cleaning products to clean spills and stains

2)Rotate stained squares into "hidden" areas like under cabinets and desks, and move the fresh square into the more visible site.

3)Replace squares only when needed due to damage

4)If replacement is unavoidable, work with a recycler to properly handle disposal of your carpet and other flooring so it won't end up in the landfill.

Tomorrow, another green tidbit gathered from MiaGreen!