Carpet recycling

In one of my articles, Carpet – the silent killer, I outlined some of the nasties that lurk in the pile under our feet. Aside from the toxic substances used to create carpet; some of which take forever to break down in the environment, it also becomes a reservoir for all sorts of other poisons around the modern home.

A reader pointed out to me a company that was making inroads into carpet recycling – the company being Shaw Carpets. They aren’t making really “green” carpet as such, but some of their products contain 25% recycled content and they offer to pick up old Shaw carpets to be brought back to their Nylon Recycling Facility where Caprolactum, a base component of Nylon 6 fiber, is reclaimed.

The company also has a number of other environmental initiatives, such as the introduction of biodiesel powered trucks, replacing CRT monitors with LCD, switching some of their plants from  natural gas to Yellow Grease; which is reclaimed cooking fat and oil. There’s also a Waste to Energy facility, computer upgrades using more efficient processors, a lights-off policy and telecommuting programs for their workers.

Sure, nylon carpets will never be “green” as they are based on petrochemicals, and likely the recycling process is quite energy intensive and with its share of by-products  – but it’s still nice to see companies giving more than just a passing glance at recycling and energy efficiency strategies. Bear in mind, this isn’t a new company, but a well established firm that’s adapting long established processes to be a little more earth friendly. There’s more to this than just a feel good aspect too – through the company’s initiatives, they are also saving a ton of cash it seems.

The Shaw Green Edge site is well worth a visit!

Another carpet re-use/recycling tip – it makes a great weed mat for your garden! Depending on the type of carpet it is and the amount of chemicals it’s been exposed to over the years, I’d be a little hesitant to use it in a vegetable garden though.

If you have other tips relating to uses for old carpet; please send them in and I’ll put together an article on the subject!