May 2021
CARE to Present at Product Stewardship Symposium
The Product Stewardship Institute is offering a free online symposium, Rolling Out the Carpet to Recycling and the Circular Economy, on May 25-26, 10:30am to noon Pacific. CARE’s Executive Director Bob Peoples will be a featured speaker along with CARE grantee and Circular Polymers CEO David Bender. Recent developments in technology and markets are fueling expanded opportunities for carpet recycling as well as interest in carpet stewardship laws among policymakers. This two-part symposium will address recent developments in the industry and the many challenges of carpet recycling, along with the benefits of greenhouse gas reductions, job creation and economic growth.

Milliken Reduces Job Site Waste from Carpet Tile
by Rob Starr, Starnet.
"In the construction industry, tons of waste is produced on job-sites. In the U.S alone, an estimated 251 million tons of solid waste is generated annually. However, less than a third of that amount is recycled. And, up to 40% of that waste is production of unused building materials," according to eSUB Construction Software blog.
The unused building materials include a significant amount of material packaging (boxes, bags, wraps, tubes, cartons, containers.) Advancing their commitment to sustainability, Milliken innovated new packaging for its carpet tile products and entryway flooring solutions. They developed a scheme to stack carpet tile products on wooden pallets without boxes (left) to eliminate the unnecessary cardboard. They then implemented a triple wall cardboard “sleeve” to fit around the carpet tiles and on the finished pallet (right). This cardboard sleeve serves two purposes:
  1. Protect the edges of the carpet tile during transit.
  2. Enable the pallets to be double stacked on a trailer during shipping to maximize cube space and save fuel and freight costs.
Both the cardboard sleeve and pallet are 100% recyclable. 
For a recent project of 35,000 square yards of carpet, Milliken was able to achieve the following improvements versus traditional packaging: 
  1. 72% less cardboard used with sleeves compared to putting carpet tiles into boxes (typically 12 tiles per 50cm box.)
  2. 55 fewer pallets used by putting 115 yd2 on pallet vs. 100 yd2 in boxes
  3. 5 fewer trucks to ship the carpet due to double stacking the pallets with sleeves vs. single stacking the boxed carpet.
Milliken's packaging scheme is ideal for specifiers looking for practically engineered, environmentally responsible and recyclable floor packaging.

Reprinted with permission.
CalRecycle Finds CARE Non-Compliant for 2019, Refers for Enforcement
Update from CARE's Executive Director, Bob Peoples
CARE’s goal, per legislative requirement, was to achieve a 24% recycling rate (RR) by January 1, 2020. While achieving a well-planned, all-time high recycling rate of 22.5% and a related annual rate of 19%, CARE has increased its RR on average 20% per year, every year for the last 5 years. Why did we come up short at the end of 2019? Two of the longest-running, most successful and deeply-experienced carpet recycling processors in the world – both with operations in California – were set back in their broader, long-planned and CARE grant-supported efforts to help the Program due to the devastating Paradise wildfire, PG&E bankruptcy and unforeseen jurisdictional permitting delays. The unimaginable challenges navigated by two of CARE’s key stakeholders derailed one northern California operation’s planned June 2019 start-up date for almost 2 years and prevented a southern California operator’s ability to further expand collections and processing due to over 18 months of permitting challenges. Additionally, a third grant recipient failed to build and start-up a new plant after 5 years of promises. Any one of these strategically planned expansions would have been key to achieving a significantly increased RR. Neither CARE nor CalRecycle had any ability to offset these events.

Despite these uncontrollable setbacks, on April 29 CalRecycle’s Director signed the Request for Approval (RFA) for Consideration of CARE’s 2019 Annual Report, choosing to find CARE noncompliant with its California Carpet Stewardship Plan 2018-2022 and the requirements of the stewardship law. CARE has been referred to the Waste Permitting, Compliance and Mitigation Division for enforcement for noncompliance in 2019. The Request for Approval memo written by CalRecycle staff noted that CARE “has worked to support its program participants to make technological advancements and realize improved efficiency in carpet recycling, as well as expand the market for products made from post-consumer carpet.”

CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples stated, “It goes without saying, we are very disappointed by Director Wagoner’s decision to go against CalRecycle staff’s recommendation. While carpet recycling fell short of the mark for 2019, as have many California recycling industry sectors, CARE’s numbers are moving in the right direction and we are powering through efforts to increase carpet collection and recycling across the state. Despite a disheartening decision, with our two processors now in their post-COVID operational phase, our 2020 annual recycling rate increased to 21% despite the Q2 impact and slow recovery. This year is solidly on course for another all-time program high.”
CARE Annual Conference: Agenda Published
CARE will hold its 19th Annual Conference August 31-September 1 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. The theme of the Conference, “Carpet Recycling: Forward Together,” illustrates an industry that has come through the financial and social pain of a worldwide pandemic ready to collaborate and grow the carpet recycling ecosystem.

General Session Topics will include insights into new products and technology, developments in chemical recycling, lessons from the field, insights from economic analysis research, legislative updates and discussion of industry trends. View the Conference agenda.

Circular Polymers’ New Website
Circular Polymers, a fully integrated carpet recycler based in Lincoln, CA, has unveiled a new website, supported by CARE’s business assistance project. The new site can be viewed here and draws attention to the various commodity streams (melt filtered pellets, densified pellets and various fiber products) Circular Polymers creates from their carpet recycling collection programs.

CARE provides business assistance to subsidy and grant recipients to further support their efforts to secure new markets and increase carpet recycling. 
Micro Grants Awarded to Increase Collection
CARE's California Carpet Stewardship Program has awarded two additional Micro Grants for Collections/Reuse under Cycle 4M. The Cycle 4M grants total $30,000 and anticipate collecting an additional 1.4 million pounds of California-sourced post-consumer carpet (PCC) annually.

Hayward Transfer Station, Hayward, CA: Purchase of two containers to provide source-separated PCC collection service to local retailers ($15,000).

Aquafil Carpet Collection, San Diego, CA: Purchase of five containers to provide source-separated PCC collection service to local retailers ($15,000). 

Cycle 4M remains open to applications from California-based operations through 2021.