A Long Road to Recycling Carpet

Carpet Pad bales

Out with the old, in with the new. We've replaced much of the flooring in our house (more on that here) and removed some very worn carpet. Before ripping out the carpet, carpet pad, cactus-like tack strips and hundreds of staples and nails I looked into recycling the old carpet. It turns out that you can recycle carpet (at least some kinds) but as usual for us, it required an extra effort.

After several internet searches and more phone calls I found a location in Albuquerque that takes both carpet and carpet pad for recycling. Per instructions, I cut the carpet into 6 foot widths, rolled up the carpet and pad, then loaded it all into the car for the drive to Albuquerque. Drop off was quick, painless and anti-climactic, so I asked a few dumb questions and took a few "recycling tourist" photos. Apparently all "foam" carpet pad is recycleable as is Nylon 6 carpet. Appropriately, the old pad is remanufactured into new pad and old carpet becomes new carpet. I didn't wait to find out if our carpet was Nylon 6, but chances are about 90% that it was.

So what did I learn? You can recycle carpet and pad, it doesn't have to go into the landfill! But, it took a 120 mile round trip drive to recycle that carpet and pad. Also, you really don't want to know how much dust is in your carpet and pad.

More Info:

Carpet America Recovery Effort

New Mexico Recycling Coalition

Nylon 6

Carpet.org - Types of Fiber

Shaw Floors - Anso Nylon 6 - Evergreen Nylon Recycling

Leggett & Platt - Recycling & Reuse