Document the Process
Whoever conducts your reclamation and recycling plan should provide you with some kind of evidence or documentation that your carpet was indeed recycled.
"Sometimes people show initial skepticism about recycling claims and ask, 'How do I know you're not taking my carpet from Virginia and just dumping it in Alabama?'" Ellis explains.
Most manufacturers and nonprofit recyclers will be able to tell you how much material was removed, how much was recycled, and sometimes even what was done with it.
"Some of the carpet is made into new carpet," says John Stephens, vice president of marketing for manufacturer Shaw. "It can also be made into plastic, and a lot of it ends up as waste-to-energy (WtE). We have our own WtE facility that helps power a manufacturing plant."
Securing proof may be slightly more demanding, but it offers benefits.
"Documentation is essential when you're trying to earn LEED credit for waste diversion on a project," says Dave Kitts, environmental vice president at manufacturer Mannington. "It's easy to just gut a building and throw everything in a dumpster. Segregating and recycling takes some upfront rigor and commitment."
Recycling may take an extra phone call, but it's worth it, adds Nelson.
"The more we can figure out how to conserve resources or use the ones we currently have, the better off we'll be," he says. "Recycling is the right thing to do today and the smart thing to do for the future."
Chris Curtland firstname.lastname@example.org is assistant editor of