Carpet Recycling UK is the not-for-profit membership association working closely with its members and industry to offer solutions to divert material otherwise destined for landfill, thereby encouraging its reuse as a sustainable resource and recycling where possible.
It takes an independent approach to looking for the best possible solution for a difficult-to-recycle product within the waste hierarchy.
Since its formation in 2008, CRUK is proud of what it has helped the UK industry to achieve, which is to divert over one million of tonnes of carpet waste from landfill and to establish reuse and recycling processes, which are in existence today. Back in 2008 CRUK members realised the importance of reducing waste and recycling and in the absence of any actual legislation voluntarily backed CRUK to help the industry understand the waste streams being produced with a view to reusing and recycling as much as possible before treating the remainder in waste to energy streams.
CRUK has always been transparent about its achievements and has never ‘swept anything under the carpet’ The achievements are publicly available on its website. According to the latest CRUK figures:
- Volume of carpet waste diverted from landfill in the UK increased with 175,252 tonnes reused, recycled or recovered for energy in 2018
- It’s a landfill diversion rate of 44% – up from 42% and an increase of 7,252 tonnes on 2017
- Energy recovery accounted for 113,914 tonnes – 65% of the total and a reduction of 10,087 tonnes from 2017.
- Reuse and recycling of waste carpet was up by 19,338 tonnes on 2017 to 61,338 tonnes, representing 35% of the total.
Incineration of carpet waste as a percentage of the total waste sent to energy from waste (EfW) schemes in the UK (circa. 10.8 million tonnes in 2018) is just over 1%. It is important to note that carpet waste is combined with other non-recyclable or difficult to recycle materials and converted into a RDF (refuse derived fuel) or SRF (solid recovered fuel) feedstock, which is then sent on to either energy from waste plants or the cement industry where it is used as a replacement for virgin fossil fuels.
Carpets along with other bulky household waste streams are known to be difficult to recycle where reuse is no longer the option and currently the sector does not have the ideal or perfect solutions to treat the waste being produced. CRUK is working with some its member network on design for recycling with a view to reducing the volume of carpet waste in the bulky waste stream.
Although the article highlights the need for government intervention, since its formation and as the only professional body representing our sector, CRUK has worked hard to try and influence local and central government policy. In the absence of such, it has worked on a voluntary basis with its members to develop alternative solutions and in some case best practice measures, which we will continue to do, and which will help us continue to move carpet waste up the waste hierarchy in the future.
CRUK is aware of the proposed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for bulky household waste (which includes carpets) and is working with policymakers on behalf of the government in developing the background information for carpets and underlay for the consultation process. CRUK will continue to lead as the recognised body to help policy makers and our members understand the importance of developing the carpet sector to manufacture products in a more sustainable way.