Be part of the solution. Are you interested in being involved in the Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group? Would you like periodic email updates about the state of carpet recycling in Illinois? Email cameron@swancc.org for more information.
Looking to recycle your carpet? Head over to the Drop-off Locations list for a recycling location. 

The Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group (CRWG) is a collection of solid waste agencies, counties, and carpet collectors, processors, retailers, installers, manufacturers and construction and demolition facilities. The Group is dedicated to advancing carpet recycling in Illinois through infrastructure building, partner collaboration, program implementation, policy, and education and outreach efforts.

Accomplishments

  • October 2012: SWANA-Land of Lincoln Chapter held a summit on carpet recycling at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, with over 80 attendees. A round table discussion on barriers and solutions resulted in a Carpet Recycling Action Plan, which formed ongoing goals for carpet recycling in Illinois.
  • February 2013: SWANA President, Walter Willis, engaged private sector and carpet industry to join the Carpet Recycling Working Group in a partnership approach to increase carpet recycling in Illinois. Co- chairs, Jennifer Jarland and Cameron Ruen, were assigned to the group.
  • March 2013: The 25-member CRWG continues to meet monthly. The group has implemented a Plan of Action found at swanaillinois.org/carpet.
  • June 2013: Several members of the working group presented in a Carpet Recycling session at the IRA/SWANA Joint Conference in Normal, with over 40 attendees.
  • July 2013: Website launched with a wealth of information on carpet recycling as well as a list of current public drop-off locations.
  • August 2013: Subgroups established: Education & Outreach; Increasing Collections; Legislation & Policy; and Best Practices and End-Market Development.
  • November 2013:  Carpet recycling session at the ILCSWMA conference in Starved Rock.
  • January 2014:  Carpet stewardship legislative bill submitted to the Legislative Reference Bureau for formal drafting.

Barriers and Solutions

  1. Need higher volume of carpet to be diverted from landfills to recyclers.
    Increase Collection/ Create Public Drop-off Locations
  2. The shipping distances are too great, and therefore expensive to send to processers.
    Increase Collection/ Create Public Drop-off Locations
  3. The problems associated with landfilling carpet and the benefits of recycling carpet are not visible to the general public. In many cases, it is easier to landfill carpet than recycle it. Therefore there is a lack of incentive to recycle, along with a lack of funds to create incentives.
    Education & Outreach, Website, Speakers Forums, Policy, Legislation
  4. PET has limited recycling opportunities in Midwest markets and is used in multifamily and residential applications. It has a short lifespan of 3-4 years, is practicably non-recyclable, but is growing in market share due to its lower cost versus nylon based carpeting.
    End-Market Research & Development, Policy, Legislation
  5. Not all types or components of carpet and padding are recyclable, ie. rubber padding, PET carpet. Collections contain a quantity of contamination, ie. wet carpet, duct tape, tack strips, plastic.
    Education & Outreach, Policy, Legislation
  6. Need to create a market for recycled carpet, to close the loop.
    Internal Policy
 

Expand Infrastructure

The Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group is collecting a database of drop-off locations for the public to utilize and divert carpet and padding from the landfill.

Drive Demand

The Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group is working with private sector stakeholders to encourage market development of carpet fiber as a feedstock for new uses.

 

Foster Industry Awareness

The Illinois Carpet Recycling Working Group is working to bring awareness to the carpet recycling industry by providing outreach initiatives to the multi-faceted challenge of carpet recycling.