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CARE faces challenging climate for recycling

May 22/29, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 25

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 11.38.01 AMSince its founding in 2002, members of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) have kept over 4.6 billion pounds of waste carpet out of landfills. To this day this non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion continues to do good work.

However, CARE’s efforts have become more difficult as the price of oil has fallen. In 2016, CARE reported that its members diverted more than 488 million pounds of carpet from U.S. landfills in 2016, down nearly 6% from 2015.

According to Bob Peoples, executive director, 2016 was a challenging year for CARE in terms of marketplace activity and demand for various fiber types. “[Research] shows the carpet recycling industry is under mounting stress,” he said. “Until oil returns to greater than $70 per barrel, we see continuing turbulent times ahead.”

As of last week, West Texas Intermediate, a benchmark for crude oil, was at around $50 a barrel, and many experts see a range of $45 to $55 continuing for the next several months. The industry would need a significant and prolonged uptick before the recyclers can profit, experts say.

CARE is now facing pressure from the California Carpet Stewardship Program (CalRecycle) and could face fines into the millions of dollars, reports show.

According to Plastics Recycling Update, CalRecycle charges that the collection and recycling plans submitted by CARE have, for years, failed to meet state standards. In March, CalRecycle fined CARE millions of dollars, alleging past plans were insufficient. CARE requested a hearing to contest the fines. Instead of going after carpet wholesalers and retailers, as state law allows, CalRecycle is proposing to focus enforcement solely on manufacturers, the report said. The department has proposed requiring each manufacturer by Aug. 15 to indicate whether they want CARE to continue acting on their behalf, whether they want to join a different stewardship group or whether they will file their own plan. It has also proposed an Oct. 19 deadline to submit new plans.

During a May 16 meeting, Peoples told the CalRecycle staff he thinks the draft enforcement plan is a balanced and fair approach to an economically and technically challenging problem. After conferring with stakeholders, CARE will submit a new plan before the deadline, he said.

California is the only state to have a product stewardship law for carpet. All of CARE’s California Carpet Stewardship Program funding is derived from the carpet assessment charged to California consumers, currently $0.25 per square yard.

VPS program
During its 15th annual conference, held May 9-11 in Indianapolis, Ind., CARE announced the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) will continue to provide financial support of the Voluntary Product Stewardship (VPS) program. CARE has served as the stewardship organization for VPS, which assists sorters of post-consumer carpet diverted from the nation’s landfills. The commitment for 2017 is $4 million.

During the conference, CARE named its Person of the Year and Recycler of the Year for 2016. Dick Kruse, founder of Kruse Carpet Recycling in Indianapolis, was named CARE Person of the Year. Kruse, a board member, has been instrumental in developing CARE into the organization that it is today. “Over its 15-year life, CARE has been supported and enriched by a group of very distinguished individuals; Dick Kruse stands tall among them,” said Brendan McSheehy, board chair. “Dick has lent vision and wisdom. At the same time, he personally labored in the trenches of recycling, supporting his daughter Kasey as she grew and matured in the business. He is a shining example in a dark hour to our industry.”

Interface was honored as CARE’s 2016 Recycler of the Year. Back in 1994, Interface and company founder Ray Anderson adopted a bold vision that involved recycling and sustainability. Since then, Interface has been one of the industry leaders in recycling carpet. It became the first manufacturer to implement a process for the clean separation of carpet fiber from backing on modular carpet tiles. The program, ReEntry, began in 2007 and has processed millions of pounds of material.

“Many industries nowadays stand accused of greenwashing,” McSheehy said. “For some, the image and perception is, in fact, the reality. For others, commitment is barely skin deep. Yet, there are the few that take leadership roles in promoting recycling and disposal avoidance. Beyond this, there are even fewer that hold to that leadership through thick and thin. In the face of several years of reduced oil and virgin polymer pricing, Interface’s continued commitment has never been more challenging or more worthy of recognition as CARE Recycler of the Year.”

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CARE names 2016 award winners

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 11.51.37 AMIndianapolis—Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion, has named Dick Kruse and Interface the organization’s Person of the Year and Recycler of the Year for 2016, respectively. The two honors were awarded during the organization’s 15th annual conference, held here on May 10-11.

Kruse is a member of CARE’s board of directors and founded Kruse Carpet Recycling in Indianapolis. He boasts many years of experience in the carpet recycling industry and has been instrumental in developing CARE into the organization it is today.

“Over its 15-year life, CARE has been supported and enriched by a group of very distinguished individuals,” Brendan McSheehy, CARE board chair, said while announcing the award. “Dick Kruse stands tall among them. Over his many years of service as a board director, Dick has lent vision and wisdom. At the same time, he personally labored in the trenches of recycling, supporting his daughter Kasey as she grew and matured in the business. Dick is a shining example in a dark hour to our industry.”

As a CARE partner, Interface’s founder Ray Anderson adopted a bold vision that involved recycling and sustainability in 1994. Since then, the company has been one of the industry leaders in recycling carpet.

Interface became the first manufacturer to implement a process for the clean separation of carpet fiber from backing on modular carpet tiles. The program, ReEntry, began in 2007 and has processed millions of pounds of material.

“Many industries nowadays stand accused of greenwashing,” said Brendan McSheehy, CARE’s chairman of the board. “For some, the image and perception is in fact the reality. For others, commitment is barely skin deep. Yet, there are the few that take leadership roles in promoting recycling and disposal avoidance. Beyond this, there are even fewer that hold to that leadership through thick and thin—and in the face of several years of reduced oil and virgin polymer pricing, Interface’s continued commitment has never been more challenging or more worthy of recognition as CARE Recycler of the Year.”

 

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CARE names recycler, persons of the year

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Jim Lindsey, center, Aquafil USA, accepts the Recycler of the Year award on the company’s behalf.

Dalton—The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), which develops new processes, products, equipment and markets that reuse the valuable raw materials of post-consumer carpet, named Aquafil USA the CARE Recycler of the Year for Aquafil’s historic and continuous consumption of post-consumer nylon 6 carpet across the U.S.

Aquafil’s reclamation of post-consumer carpet is a first step in the Econyl Regeneration System, which creates recycled nylon 6 fibers from post-consumer carpet in a continuous production cycle. Aquafil’s process transforms the nylon 6 back into raw material without any loss of quality. 

“We are pleased to present Aquafil USA with this award, which recognizes Aquafil’s continuous commitment and leadership in sustainable manufacturing and a circular economy,” said Brendan McSheehy, chairman of the board, CARE.

Rocky Ponders, center, accepts his 2016 Person of the Year award.
Rocky Ponders, center, one of CARE’s 2016 Persons of the Year.
Rocky Ponders and Robert Goldberg, both of Columbia Recycling Corporation, were named CARE Persons of the Year. These two outstanding individuals transformed their company’s business model, expanding post-industrial and post-consumer carpet recycling over the past 36 years. As a result, they increased employment from fewer than 25 employees to more than 500 people. Ponders and Goldberg led the company’s growth into production of melt filtered pellets for the compounding industry and the production of carpet cushion manufacturing, using recycled carpet components.
“Over the years, these two innovators have led their company to divert significant amounts of carpet from landfills across the USA through innovations in process technology, equipment design and product development,” said Robert Peoples, executive director of CARE. “We especially want to recognize Rocky as he retires from the day-to-day operations of Columbia Recycling and wish him all the best in his new efforts to further develop the carpet cushion business.”
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CARE to host public workshops in California

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.46.43 AMDalton—Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) will host public workshops in California on March 8 and 10 to solicit input and feedback from various stakeholders about the future of carpet recycling.

These informational and interactive workshops will provide participants with an overview of the past and current state of carpet recycling in California and the opportunity to contribute ideas, insights, and recommendations on CARE’s planning efforts around carpet stewardship in 2017 and beyond.

The March 8 event will take place in Burbank at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The March 10 event will be held in Sacramento at the Rural County Representatives of California office from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The free workshops are an opportunity to meet the CARE California team, the inaugural members of the California Council on Carpet Recycling, as well as network with other industry stakeholders.

Carpet manufacturers; retailers; installers; government agency representatives in sustainability, waste and procurement; haulers; NGOs; and processors of carpet in California are invited to attend and can RSVP at carpetrecovery.org/2016_workshops.

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California Carpet Stewardship assessment to increase on April 1

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 11.02.40 AMSacramento, Calif.–The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) and CalRecycle announced at a public meeting an updated assessment fee of 20 cents per square yard on all carpet sold or shipped in California, effective April 1, 2016.

The rate is an increase from the previous assessment of 10 cents per square yard, to be collected as a non-tax item at the point of sale, throughout the sale and distribution chain, to the final customer.

“The assessment increase is necessary to offset the negative impact recent market developments have had on carpet recovery efforts and carpet recycling infrastructure in California,” said Bob Peoples, CARE’s executive director. “These developments include the tremendous drop in crude oil prices in 2015, by over 60% since mid 2014. Since crude oil is the feedstock for virgin synthetic materials, lower oil prices have put the production of recycled post-consumer carpet fiber at a disadvantage compared to virgin materials.”

Funds raised by the assessment will be paid out to qualifying recyclers as increased subsidies to help them stay competitive. In addition to increased subsidies, CARE will use the assessment funds for a newly implemented grants program to encourage investment in carpet recycling facilities and accelerate the development and marketing of products made from recycled carpet fiber. “We are hopeful that with the increased assessment fee and additional program incentives, CARE can help reinvigorate carpet recycling in California in 2016 and beyond,” Peoples said.

Since July 1, 2011, all California carpet manufacturers and retailers have been required under carpet stewardship law AB 2398 to add an assessment fee onto all carpet sold in the state. The law is designed to increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet generated in California. CARE administers the California Carpet Stewardship Program, which is charged with meeting the requirements for carpet recycling set by AB 2398.

CARE has been conducting extensive in-person outreach to carpet retailers throughout the state to increase awareness of the California Carpet Stewardship Program and the role the assessment plays in promoting carpet recycling and recovery. Many have expressed support for the rate increase. Cambria Hance at The Floor Store in Dublin, Calif., said: “As a carpet retailer, I welcome the investment in carpet recycling and the marketing of recycled carpet fiber products. The new assessment adds less than $10 to the cost of carpeting for the average home. I think that’s reasonable.”

 

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Tandus Centiva named CARE’s 2014 Recycler of the Year

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.10.05 AMDalton—Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the primary non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion, has named Tandus Centiva its Recycler of the Year for 2014. The honor was awarded during the organization’s 13th annual conference held in New Orleans May 13 and 14.

Tandus Centiva employs ReStart, the industry’s first closed-loop recycling program, through its Dalton-based environmental center. ReStart is designed to reclaim and recycle post consumer flooring, installation waste, product samples and portfolios.

Tandus Centiva has reclaimed and recycled more than 284 million pounds of floor covering and waste to date.

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CARE takes next step in PET challenge

May 25/June 1, 2015; Volume 29/Number 4

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Bob Peoples

New Orleans—More than 135 attendees came together in New Orleans for the 13th Annual Carpet America Recovery Effort CARE Conference, held May 13 and 14 here. The numbers reported at this year’s event indicated members diverted 490 million pounds of post-consumer carpet (PCC) from U.S. landfills last year. While these numbers area preliminary, Bob Peoples, executive director, said the information is more accurate as compared to last year’s because of a change in the methodology used to make calculations.

The show itself was similar to previous years in terms, except for a few changes based on attendee feedback. “We followed a very similar format,” Sheri Gorman, vice president of marketing and A&D for RD Weis Companies in New York and member of the CARE board Gorman, explained. “Having the exhibitors in the same room where the presenters are is nice because you can step back and have a conversation. The exhibitors loved that [before] so we did it again.”

Eric Nelson, vice president of strategic alliances for Interface and CARE board member, added that because the conference is a two-day event, board members aimed to maximize content and strike a balance between relevant topics. Instead of featuring breakout sessions in which attendees would have to choose from a few concurrent presentations, speakers were allotted a shorter amount of time in the main room, allowing attendees to soak in important information from each meeting.

“The CARE Board really tries to take feedback each year and turn the conference into something beneficial for everyone,” Nelson said. “Rather than having to choose from A, B or C, we’re doing three or four presentations in one session. These are topics that everyone wants to hear, so we try to be deliberate and take all that into consideration.”

Also new this year is the 2015 CARE Member Product Catalogue, showcasing the various products that contain PCC, which officially launched the first day of the conference. “The key to solving our problems is going to be the products and outlets we put in place,” Peoples said, explaining that the next step after recycling carpet is finding a home for the fibers. The catalogue is designed to make members aware of their options and is available for download in a PDF format on the CARE website, carpetrecovery.org.

VecoplanCARE’s new website launched May 7 of last year at its event in Seattle, but it has been constantly undergoing changes and improvements in order to be more user-friendly.

On the marketing front, CARE recently formed a new marketing committee to help promote and raise awareness in the flooring industry. On the commercial side, mills are taking the initiative to encourage recycling within their companies, but according to Gorman there is a communication gap between them, the retailers and consumers. “There is a whole education process that needs to happen.”

Peoples added that because there hasn’t been much engagement with retailers in the past, the second half of 2015 will emphasize more dialogue and “focus on getting out materials, furthering outreach and building a direct contact database.”

PET update

In recent years the challenge involving polyester (PET) for the carpet industry has been developing a viable and profitable recycling mechanism. Now that progress has been made, the next step is finding aftermarket potential for thefiber. Confident that the answer is near after solving the nylon 6 issue (the technology to recycle nylon 6 back into nylon 6 face fiber didn’t exist when CARE first started), members are aware that risks must be taken, and there is a lot more work to be done.

“They’re still trying to find solutions,” Gorman said. “So there is still a lot of testing to figure out what can we use [PET] for, what it will work in, what it won’t work in. Compared to a year ago, we’ve found a lot of different outlets and some of them are more viable while some are still being tested.”

Wyatt ShawSince the economic downturn around 2008, the use of polyester has spiked and continues to see growth. “The industry really wanted to put products on the shelf at a different price point so that consumers might be more willing to purchase during that really tough time,” Nelson noted. “If you’re recycling old carpet and you have a choice to bring back polyester or nylon, by the time you harvest the polyester fiber and turn it into a pellet it’s going to cost you more to make it than the market is willing to pay; with nylon that’s not the case because the values are higher.”

Wyatt Rollins, director of materials recovery operations for Shaw, added, “PET is a very cheap polymer, but the cost structure to recycle it doesn’t change. So there’s no way to profitably recycle the polyester and that’s why PET is such a big issue.”

Ultimately, CARE members hope to one day be able to recycle PET back into its original carpet form. “What they’re shooting for is carpet to carpet,” said Dana Darley, national sales manager for the plastics division of Vecoplan, a company that manufactures and sells size-reducing equipment. “That’s always the goal, that’s always the highest value in recycling. Otherwise they can use it for much simpler applications like automotive, where it doesn’t need the same purity level.”

Despite the positive outlook, some members continue to face obstacles. “We’ve asked New Jersey to provide carpet to our facility in Newark for half the landfill price and they declined,” said Sean Ragiel, founder and president of CarpetCycle in Newark, N.J. “There’s not enough savings. So that’s the challenge; they want us to take it for free but as everyone in the room knows, show me where I can get free trucks, free fuel, free insurance and a free driver and I’ll take the carpet for free.”

Turning over rocks’

According to Peoples, part of CARE’s role is to “turn over rocks. We seek out possibilities, look for opportunities, look for new processes and technologies and look for new products into which we can put PCC. Then we connect them with our members.”

Presenters at the conference provided some possible solutions including experimental work that will determine PET’s compatibility with particleboard formulations, recovering and recycling carpets for automobile uses (currently being done in Hyundai and Kia vehicles), and the use of power plants to convert carbon-containing waste into gas for heating, cooling or electricity.

CARE also serves as a stewardship organization administering the California AB 2398, mandating that consumers pay a surcharge on carpet purchases that goes toward the recycling initiative. On April 1 the assessment was increased from 5 cents to 10 cents per square yard, allocating more funds for recycling, diversion and product development in California.

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Care releases 2013 annual report: 534 million pounds of carpet diverted from landfills

August 4/11, 2014; Volume 28/Number 4

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.07.03 AMDalton—Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the primary non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion, has reported a more than 52% increase in U.S. gross post-consumer carpet collections from 2012 to 2013. As revealed in the organization’s 2013 annual report, CARE partners have diverted 534 million pounds of carpet, or 14% of the 3.7 billion pounds of total discarded carpet, from landfills last year.

The environmental impact of the 2013 carpet diversion effort is calculated to be the equivalent of taking 40,822 cars off the road, or saving enough energy to power 17,692 homes for the year. Since its founding in 2002, CARE members have diverted more than 3.25 billion gross pounds of post-consumer carpet from landfills in the U.S.

“CARE has once again experienced a dynamic year in terms of challenges and accomplishments,” said Bob Peoples, executive director. “Our programs are growing more sophisticated, resulting in significant progress in accounting for the diversion of post-consumer carpet from landfills in 2013.”

One of the most significant developments was an 87% increase in post-consumer carpet going back to carpet face fiber now at 28% of recycled pounds. In addition, post-consumer carpet going into carpet backing represented another 17%, a 25% increase over 2012 data. These accomplishments come from significant investment in R&D and commercial implementation by CARE members.

In addition to carpet diversion figures, CARE also noted the following in its 2013 annual report:

•Nylon fiber types represented 52% of the collection stream, while PET collection grew to 34%.

•The amount of carpet reused saw a year-to-year increase from 5 million to

12 million pounds, while recycled carpet decreased slightly from 8% to 5%.

•CARE successfully managed California AB 2398 as the Carpet Stewardship Organization. The organization launched a blog in 2013 and a new website in May 2014.

“The challenge in front of us is to reach a viable business framework for CARE members to accomplish post-consumer carpet diversion and recovery in the face of challenges, most notably the rise of PET carpet in the collection stream,” said Brendan McSheehy, chairman of CARE’s board of directors. “I look forward to seeing the positive changes made as our organization navigates and adapts to the changing landscape of our industry.”

CARE’s 12th annual report is the result of surveys conducted by the organization and provides data on the various diversion management methods: reuse, recycling, cement kilns and waste-to-energy applications. The report also covers product and market development activities, and industry products and programs.

To view the complete CARE 2013 annual report, visit

carpetrecovery.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CARE-2013-Annual-Report.pdf

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CARE releases 2013 annual report

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.27.09 AMDalton — Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the primary non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion, has reported a more than 52% increase in U.S. gross post-consumer carpet collections from 2012 to 2013. As revealed in the organization’s 2013 Annual Report, CARE partners have diverted 534 million pounds of carpet, or 14% of the 3.7 billion pounds of total discarded carpet, from landfills last year.

The environmental impact of the 2013 carpet diversion effort is calculated to be the equivalent of taking 40,822 cars off the road, or saving enough energy to power 17,692 homes for the year. Since its founding in 2002, CARE members have diverted more than 3.25 billion gross pounds of post-consumer carpet from landfills in the U.S.

“CARE has once again experienced a dynamic year in terms of challenges and accomplishments,” said Bob Peoples, executive director of CARE. “Our programs are growing more sophisticated, resulting in significant progress in accounting for the diversion of post-consumer carpet from landfills in 2013.”

One of the most significant developments was an 87% increase in post-consumer carpet going back to carpet face fiber now at 28% of recycled pounds. In addition, post-consumer carpet going into carpet backing represented another 17%, a 25% increase over 2012 data. These are major accomplishments and come from significant investment in R&D and commercial implementation by CARE members.

In addition to carpet diversion figures, CARE also notes the following in its 2013 annual report:

  • Nylon fiber types represented 52% of the collection stream, while PET collection grew to 34%
  • The amount of carpet reused saw a year-to-year increase of from 5 million to 12 million pounds, while recycled carpet decreased slightly from 8% to 5%
  • CARE successfully managed California AB 2398 as the Carpet Stewardship Organization
  • The organization launched a blog in 2013 and a new website in May 2014

“The challenge in front of us is to reach a viable business framework for CARE members to accomplish post-consumer carpet diversion and recovery in the face of challenges, most notably the rise of PET carpet in the collection stream,” said Brendan McSheehy, chairman of CARE’s Board of Directors. “I look forward to seeing the positive changes made as our organization navigates and adapts to the changing landscape of our industry.”

CARE’s 12th annual report is the result of surveys conducted by the organization, and provides data on the various diversion management methods: reused, recycling, cement kilns and waste-to-energy applications. The report also covers product and market development activities and industry products and programs.

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Carpet America Recovery Effort: Upbeat mood despite PET challenge

May 12/19, 2014; Volume 27/Number 27

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.44.26 AMEven as the carpet recycling industry grapples with the rise in polyesters (PET) in face fibers, the good news is the rate of recycling has reached unprecedented numbers in the history of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE).

Bob Peoples, executive director of CARE, said he was “delightfully surprised” by the mood at the 12th annual conference, especially given the ongoing PET challenge facing the industry. “It was really upbeat.”

Other attendees talked about the “good energy” in Seattle at the gathering of carpet mills, processors, collectors, and government and non-government officials. Continue reading Carpet America Recovery Effort: Upbeat mood despite PET challenge