About 3.5 to 4 billion pounds (yes, that’s not a typo) of carpets end up in the landfill every year. Sick, ain’t it? Not only are carpets bulky, but they are typically full of nasty chemicals and highly unbiodegradable components.
There are a few options for getting rid of your used carpets, but only a few. If your carpet is new or near new, you might try Habitat for Humanity, which often accepts building materials and basic furnishings for new houses they’re building. Check the building materials page for a place in your area to contact.
You can also try Carpet America Recovery Effort which lists carpet reclamation option by area, as does Environmental Recovery & Consolidation Services (ERCS). Other than that, I can only recommend the When All Else Fails page and a few options below.
Now that you know how environmentally unfriendly carpets can be, use that knowledge to change your buying habits in the future.
What you can do:
1. Buy good quality carpets that will last a long time. Buy natural carpets, made out of non-chemically treated products like wool, jute and hemp. Read this article about why you should. Not only is this better for the environment, it’s much easier on many allergy sufferers and asthmatics — unless you’re allergic to wool, hemp or jute, of course! Don’t buy a carpet that indicates “moth protection” or “stain protection” has been used. That probably means some harsh chemicals were used.
2. Opt for hardwood floors. Bamboo can be an eco-friendly option.
3. Buy area rugs. These are actually possible to resell, unlike wall-to-wall that’s been cut to fit your house.
4. If you must buy non-natural carpets, buy recycled. Make sure the post-consumer content percentage is high. GreenFloors is one such option.
5. Repair your carpet instead of dumping it. There’s a whole section in the yellow pages for carpet repair.
6. Use environmentally sound products to clean your carpet. Here’s a natural carpet deodorizer recipe you might like.