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How to Recycle Carpets and Rugs

How to Recycle Carpets and Rugs

All carpets and rugs are considered recyclable, however, are generally not accepted in your council recycling bin.

When a new carpet is delivered and installed, most carpet companies will take away and recycle your old carpet. 

Rugs in good condition can be donated to charity programs, such as Animal Welfare League opportunity Shops, St Vincent De Paul Society, The Salvation Army or Red Cross.

If you have installed your carpet yourself, or if your rug is not in good condition, waste removal companies are available to collect your carpet or rug. 

Carpet is tricky because it can be bulky, but it can be recycled in your home by you for reuse as soil cover or mulch in the garden or for landscaping. 

Image: Akira Isogawa

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Science Notes
The plastic recovered during carpet recycling is used for auto parts, roof shingles, and other industrial products. Recycled carpet is also remade into new carpet fibre or carpet backing.

Materials used to make carpets vary greatly including wool, cotton and synthetic fibres. The vast majority are made of synthetic fibres like nylon and polypropylene, and treated with chemicals like organotins, permethrin, formaldehyde and brominated flame retardants.

Chemicals are used for various reasons, including pest control, fire retardation and odour. When cooled and set, these chemicals leave a protective coating on the surface of the carpet so it is important that carpets be disposed of in a way that is environmentally friendly and responsible.

Related Tip
When purchasing carpet, look around and find one that has little impact on the environment and can be recycled easily. Wool carpet with natural material backing, for example, is 100% biodegradable.