‘Modest growth’ in carpet recycling rate

The UK’s carpet recycling industry association has released 2018 data pointing a jump in the tonnage of carpet waste collected for recycling and reuse, but with the sector still on course to miss its 2020 landfill diversion target.

A breakdown of the Carpet Recycling UK figures

The statistics from Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), a not-for-profit membership association, suggested that around 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste was generated during the year, with 61,000 tonnes (15%) having been recycled or reused and 114,000 tonnes sent for energy recovery (28%). The remaining 224,000 tonnes is sent to landfill.

In total this represents a 44% landfill diversion rate, the highest to-date recorded by CRUK members, following an increase of around 2% compared to the previous year.

However, this still puts the group some way short of its own 60% landfill diversion target by 2020.


Looking at the figures in comparison to 2017, the tonnage of material sent for energy recovery saw a reduction of 10,087 tonnes compared to the previous year.

This was offset by an increase in the amount recycled and reused of around 19,338 tonnes compared to 2017 – making a total of 61,338 tonnes in 2018. This means that the recycling rate has grown from close to 10.5% in 2017 to 15% in 2018.

According to CRUK the main growth areas for the material were in equestrian surface materials and carpet tile reuse.

On the energy recovery side, demand for carpet waste for cement kilns as a renewable resource to replace fossil fuels for export and in the UK, and local incineration of municipal solid wastes has also been strong.

Households are among the sources of carpets which are recovered at the end of life via household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) and bulky waste collections.


Commenting on the 2018 results, Adnan Zeb-Khan, CRUK’s scheme manager, said: “We are making progress towards our target of 60% landfill diversion by 2020 and are proud of what we have achieved in our first decade.

“With strong commitment and support from all our Core Funders, members and the supply chain, we will continue to work tirelessly towards our sustainability goals.”

Looking ahead, Carpet Recycling UK said it will focus on increasing support from membership across the flooring sector as the 2020 target approaches – equivalent to 240,000 tonnes landfill diversion of carpet waste.

The organisation added that it will also promote increased recycled content in textile flooring and ‘circular production’ practices.

CRUK’s core funders are Cormar Carpets, Lifestyle Floors/Headlam, Brinton Carpets, DESSO, ege, Milliken and Balsan. Its members include organisations from all areas of the carpet supply chain including material suppliers, distributors, retailers and recyclers.

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