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Carpet Recycling UK hits landfill diversion target two years early

Recycling rates have soared as local authorities’ capacity to deal with carpets tripled over the past 18 months, according to the industry’s membership body.

Around 400,000 tonnes of waste carpet arise annually in the UK, figures released by Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) revealed.

With 107,000 tonnes of waste carpet reused, recycled and recovered over the year, the landfill diversion rate for UK carpets in 2013 was 27%.

CRUK’s original target was to reach 25% diversion by 2015. The target was set in 2008 when the not-for-profit organisation was launched.

The success is down the number of local authorities providing dedicated carpet collection facilities tripling from 15 to 45, according to CRUK. This means a quarter of local authorities in the UK are now separating carpets.

According to CRUK research, more than 200 Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) sites are now involved in segregating carpets, giving more than seven million households the opportunity to recycle their carpets.

In 2013:

  • carpet recycled was 43,000 tonnes
  • carpet going to energy recovery was 63,000 tonnes
  • carpet reused (primarily carpet tiles) was 1,000 tonnes

In 2013 compared to 2012:

  • reuse and recycling of waste carpet increased 19% (up 7,000 tonnes)
  • energy recovery rose 31% (up 15,000 tonnes)

CRUK has now set a new landfill diversion target of 60% by 2020.

CRUK director Laurance Bird said: “We are confident that this can be reached given the progress rate over the past five years as the demand for carpets as a material stream has increased steadily.

“Possibilities are growing all the time as entrepreneurs from a complete cross-section of manufacturing and commercial enterprises continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved.”

He added: “Councils continue to be an important focus for us as we encourage more to engage in collecting carpets, which increases their site recovery rates.”

Bird also welcomed Scotland’s new legislation making it compulsory for businesses to separate their waste into recycling streams, which came into force on 1 January 2014.

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