The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) have developed a program of voluntary product stewardship in an attempt to decrease the amount of carpeting that is sent to landfills. The goals of the program, as listed by CARE, are to maintain a sustainable carpeting industry and to create “market-driven solutions to the diversion of post-consumer carpet from landfills.”
To achieve these goals, CARE will be providing incentive funding to sorters in facilities where post-consumer carpet is analyzed and baled. There are no restrictions based on type of carpet or materials used in its manufacture. The program is specifically aimed at sorters, as they receive the most carpet from collectors, and are able to divert the post-secondary carpeting from the landfill. The program is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2015, and is expected to run for two years.
The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. (PSI) is skeptical about the motive behind the launch of the stewardship program. PSI believes it is an attempt to avoid extended producer responsibility legislation, which requires manufacturers to finance recycling or safe disposal of their products. It would appear their concerns have a basis in reality, however, as the voluntary product stewardship program does not apply to sorters in California, where the legislation is already in place.
“Clearly, carpet manufacturers spent significant time to develop this complex program to reduce the multi-million dollar cost that carpet waste imposes on taxpayers, and while we appreciate them taking some degree of responsibility, their purely voluntary approach is hardly a balanced and sustainable solution,” PSI CEO Scott Cassel told Waste360.com.
CARE began accepting applications from sorters on January 1st and expects to pay sorters for their Quarter 1 work by June.