Carpet Recycling: Issues and Opportunities Discussed at Carpet America Recovery Effort Annual Conference

The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the multi-stakeholder group committed to market-based solutions for the recycling and landfill diversion of carpet, held its 12th Annual Conference recently in Seattle, Washington. In attendance were multiple CRI member carpet manufacturers as well as representatives from CARE’s more than 450 members, including carpet retailers and distributors, collectors, sorters and recyclers and government and non-government organizations. As in past years, the CARE Annual Conference offers a valuable opportunity for anyone involved or interested in the landfill diversion of post-consumer carpet to network, listen to presentations from the manufacturing and recycling industries and discuss challenges to and opportunities in carpet recycling. Among this year’s highlights of the conference: the naming of a new CARE board chairman, Person of the Year and Recycler of the Year as well as recognition for several Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) member manufacturers as CARE Sustaining Members for their consistent support of carpet recycling, sustainability and CARE.
Brendan McSheehy, vice president of innovation, sustainability and intellectual property for CRI member manufacturer Universal Fibers was elected chairman of the CARE board. McSheehy has served on CARE’s board of directors since 2006, previously as vice chair and treasurer. He has been with Bristol, Virginia-based Universal Fibers for more than 24 years. About his new role, McSheehy said, “CARE has set ambitious goals and objectives and I hope to offer the leadership necessary to put credible mechanisms in place to reach our mission.”
Also during this year’s conference, CRI member companies were recognized as CARE Sustaining Partners for their years of commitment and work furthering sustainability and carpet recycling. Honored were: Aquafil USA, Beaulieu Group, InterfaceFLOR, J+J Flooring Group, Masland Contract, Milliken & Company, The Mohawk Group, Shaw Industries, Tandus/Centiva and Universal Fibers.
Thomas Holland, a CARE board member and founder of Texas Carpet and Construction Recycling (TCR), of Grapevine, Texas, was awarded CARE’s Person of the Year. CARE’s Recycler of the Year award was given to Wellman Plastics Recycling (WPR), based in Johnsonville, South Carolina.
CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples expressed pride in this year’s winners, saying, “Our organization is making huge strides because of the influence of individuals and organizations like Thomas Holland and Wellman Plastics Recycling.” Peoples also reported that preliminary numbers indicate that 438 million pounds of post-consumer carpet were diverted from landfills in 2013. That number represents a 25 percent increase from 2012. Peoples emphasized the 438 million is a preliminary number, as the final report is undergoing additional review and will be released as soon as it is complete. Over CARE’s history recyclers have kept more than 3 billion pounds of old carpet out of America’s landfills.
“The Carpet and Rug Institute is extremely proud of the progress the carpet industry and the recycling community have made in keeping carpet out of landfills and finding voluntary, market-based solutions for that diverted material,” said CRI President Joe Yarbrough. ” By working together, we will continue to expand what can be done.”
– Bethany

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