What to do with Old Carpet: Recycle, Re-Use, or Dispose

All carpet becomes worn, stained, or outdated eventually and requires replacement. However, most people don’t think about what happens to old carpet when they throw it away. Nearly 90 percent of discarded carpet ends up in landfills where it could sit for decades before decomposing.

While some people burn unwanted carpet, less than five percent investigate recycling options. Fortunately, that number is slowly increasing as people become more aware of recycling options and desire to reduce their own carbon footprint. More have come to realize that burning unwanted carpet isn’t a good option either because it forces others to breathe in potentially dangerous toxins.

Recycling carpet isn’t as challenging as some people might assume. Below are just a handful of ideas on what to do with old carpet instead of burning it or throwing it in the trash can.

Contact the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) to Arrange Pick-Up

The non-profit organization CARE helps people locate carpet recycling centers by entering a few details. When using the website, the person looking to responsibly dispose of carpet just needs to enter a ZIP code to find the nearest facility that will accept it. 

Some facilities may offer pick-up for a fee, but people should be prepared to deliver their unwanted carpet to a recycling center themselves.

Check with Local Charities

Most charities can only accept new carpet for sanitary reasons, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some charities may be willing to accept your donation if you can keep large pieces of gently used carpet intact when you remove it. Habitat for Humanity is a good place to start when searching for a charity who could make use a carpet donation.

Ideas to Reuse Carpet Strips or Scraps Around Home

Creative homeowners may be able to find several new uses for old carpet. One example is to cut out four small squares of carpet and place each one under a kitchen table leg. This will prevent scratch marks on the kitchen floor when someone bumps or moves the table. 

Another idea is to staple an old strip of carpet to a board and give it to the family cat as a scratching pad. Using old carpet pieces for arts and crafts can be fun too. Homeowners who don’t have enough projects of their own to work on can ask fellow crafty friends if they would like some of the carpeting material for their own projects.

Call a Junk Hauler

Sometimes people just want to get rid of old carpet and don’t have time to find out where to recycle it. Working with a junk hauler is a good idea in this situation. The junk hauler arrives with a large truck and takes all unwanted carpet away for a reasonable fee. 

The homeowner never has to think about it again, and the junk hauler will attempt to deliver it to a recycling center before considering leaving it in a landfill.

What Happens to Carpet After Recycling?

Most carpet recyclers turn it into plastic resin used in a variety of consumer products. The automotive, construction, home services, and transportation industries benefit the most from recycled carpet.