Has the current focus on the Covid-19 pandemic meant that attention has been diverted from the importance of recycling of items like carpets, and the effect this has on our environment?

The gains that were achieved in 2019 by Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), where the overall annual recycling rate in California showed an increase of over 19% from 2018, indicated that the efforts to keep discarded old carpets out of the landfills was at last proving successful. This increase in the recycling rate could be in jeopardy in 2020 because of the effects Covid-19 is having on recycling efforts.

How has Covid-19 Affected Recycling?

Although waste removal has been identified as an essential service during the pandemic, the impact of Covid-19 has been severe with waste pick-ups being restricted due to staff illness. This in turn has had a negative influence on recycling with many recycling centers remaining closed for extended periods of time, with no end in sight.

This effect has not only been seen in the flooring industry but across society as a whole:

  • Reusable bags have been banned by many grocery stores as these have been red-flagged as a possible way the virus is spread between shoppers and employees. Only single-use bags are allowed with the result that there are billions more of these to be disposed of.
  • Disposable coffee cups are back in use at hot drink outlets, having replaced reusable cups. Unfortunately, these will also find their way back into the environment by their billions.
  • More household waste is being generated as people are isolating at home. DIY and redecorating projects are proving popular during lockdown, leading to further household waste.

It is vital that old carpeting which is replaced during lockdown does not find its way into our landfills where it remains for centuries without breaking down. Old carpets must be kept for eventual recycling. Instead of the tons of discarded old carpet filling our landfills, recycling them would save natural resources and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Old carpets can be recycled and manufactured into useful new products like insulation, new carpets, and carpet padding.

In a post Covid-19 world, recycling of all materials will become even more important if we don’t want to lose the positive environmental results that have resulted from years of encouraging recycling.

For more information on recycling old flooring during your upgrade, please get in touch with the experienced team at Garmon & Company.