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31st July 2018, Stockport

One million tons of UK waste carpet diverted

Carpet Recycling UK has been instrumental in the diversion of one million tons of waste carpet from landfill in its first decade, delegates at the industry association’s tenth annual conference and awards event heard.

This total tonnage is equivalent to approximately 400 million square metres of carpet or 57,000 football pitches. Key markets that have developed as a consequence include carpet tile reuse, the equestrian sector, recovered fuels and incineration for energy recovery.

CRUK Director Laurance Bird. ©  Carpet Recycling UK

Last year, 168,000 tons were diverted from landfill, representing a diversion rate of 42%. CRUK’s target is 60% by 2020.

Taking the theme ‘Celebrating 10 years of Resource Recovery’ the one-day conference, sponsored by Invista, as the manufacturer of Antron carpet fibres, was held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham in July. It marked the achievements and major contributions by members – both individuals and organisations – who have all helped to drive greater sustainability in the flooring sector since 2008.

CRUK Director Laurance Bird deemed the event was a great success with excellent feedback from attendees on contacts made, networking opportunities and the wide range of subjects covered.

“One million tons of carpeted diverted from landfill to reuse, recycling and energy recovery is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved by co-operation across the value chain,” he said. “Thank you to our core funders who had the foresight to make this possible.”

The core funders are Cormar Carpets, Lifestyle Floors/Headlam, Brintons Carpets, Desso, Ege, Milliken, and Balsan. CRUK currently has 99 members.

In her presentation ‘Developing a Circular Economy for Carpet’, Jane Gardner of CRUK welcomed a steep increase in retailer/contractor membership.

“We have helped retailers and contractors significantly over the years and increasingly, they are recognising the value in taking back carpet waste as an additional service for customers, who are keen to see material recycled rather than landfilled,” she said.

Continuing the theme, keynote speaker Dr Edmund Vankann of ECRA GUT, the EU carpet industry’s environmental programme, explained the development of a new Circular Carpet Platform in Europe to promote recycling and recover resources from carpet waste.

Left to right: David Judge, Cormar Carpets, Jack White, Floorstore Group on behalf of winner Steve Walker, Stuart Thomas, Designer Contracts, Kate Burnett, Milliken, Ellen Petts, Greenstream Flooring, Tony Spreckley, Envirocycle London, and Sue Jaques, and Andy Murphy of Melrose Textile. © Carpet Recycling UK

Creative solutions for carpet tile reuse, including circular office fit outs, were covered by Ellen Petts, MD of South Wales-based Greenstream Flooring.

“Ten years ago, we had to work really hard to create markets for used carpet tiles,” she said. “Today, we are extending their lifecycle through social and, increasingly, commercial markets with no materials sent to landfill.”

Cormar Carpets, a major UK-based carpet manufacturer claims it has saved a total of around £3 million through an innovative approach to waste due to its ten year association with Carpet Recycling UK.

“Ten years ago, we realised that Laurance Bird and his team would be useful to our company,” said MD David Judge, in presenting winning individuals and organisations of the 2018 Carpet Recycling UK Awards with their trophies and certificates at the conference. “Over that decade, we have saved around £3 million by not making waste through innovation in the production process and not sending any manufacturing waste to landfill – it’s all recycled. If we can do it, you can do it. We’re engineering waste out of our business – and expect to save around £500,000 a year going forward. That’s about £5 million over the next 10 years.”

Winners of the 2018 Carpet Recycling UK Awards were:

  • Emerald Trading Waste Solutions whose commitment to developing new systems and processes to recycle carpet waste in the equestrian sector won the company two awards – Recycler of the Year and the 2018 Outstanding Achievement accolade. The company recycles post-consumer carpets into its Carpet Gallop all-weather equestrian surfaces.
  • Mark Purnell of Fantasy Flooring was named Recycling Champion for the second year running for his persistence and enthusiasm in setting up systems and processes to increase carpet recycling at their Bristol site. 
  • Greenstream Flooring took Reuse Member of the Year for its on-going successful take back and reuse of carpet tiles from construction and refurbishment projects.
  • Clinching the Take Back Partner of the Year title, Melrose Textile impressed the judges with its imaginative approach to recovering value from carpet manufacturing and distribution waste to create the [Re]lay range of rugs, mats and runners.
  • Envirocycle London and Renew Recycling London were joint winners of the Best Newcomer Award for their efforts in working with the supply chain to reduce the amount of carpet going into landfill. Both have proactively demonstrated their carpet recycling activities to others and encouraged best practice in the industry.
  • One of CRUK’s core funders, Milliken’s long-term commitment to sustainability in the carpet industry and support for CRUK’s activities was recognised with the Longstanding Support award.

Carpet Recycling UK was founded in 2008 to tackle the 400,000 tons of waste carpet arising in the UK annually. It welcomes enquiries from all types of organisations interested in finding new outlets for their waste carpet with potential savings on disposal costs.


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