Environmentally-motivated consumers have been dissatisfied with the state of the carpet industry for years – and with good reason. Modern carpeting has been one of the most difficult building materials to dispose of without causing irreparable damage to the earth and its inhabitants. Eighty-nine percent of it ends up in landfills, where it leaches off toxic chemicals during the extremely long time it takes for it to decompose. But, Mohawk’s new Airo Line recyclable carpets promise to change all that.
Airo Line carpet is completely recyclable because it’s made from only one material, unlike all other carpeting. Ideally, when Airo Line carpet has reached the end of its usefulness, all consumers need to do to start the recovery process is take it to a recycling center that is equipped to recycle it. It’s a small price to pay for protecting the earth.
Yet, because no systems exist to facilitate the disposal of recyclable carpet, the task falls to each consumer. Currently, there are no programs to pick up used carpet. Recycling centers face another challenge. While they may have the capability to recycle carpet, recyclers may not be motivated to do it until they find a way to make it a profitable venture. The carpet industry also needs to stop green-washing – a PR technique that attempts to position them as an eco-friendly industry without actually addressing the problem. For more on these challenges, read Nithin Coca’s informative blog here.
The good news here is that these problems can be overcome. It will take a great deal of effort by everyone concerned to make carpet recycling a reality. Consumers can push for laws and programs to make it happen. They can spread the word that this new solution exists. They can hold carpet companies to a high standard of honesty to ensure green-washing becomes a thing of the past. And, they can choose Airo Line or other recyclable carpets that may be produced in the future.
Who knows? If consumers take the initiative to tackle this problem and lawmakers and nonprofits step up to do their part, recycling old carpet may be a viable option when the time comes to replace it. In the meantime, choosing recyclable carpet sends a message that consumers are on board and ready to make a change.