Green Living: Recycling Carpet

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Diamonds may be forever, but garbage runs a close second. A can of soda takes about 80-200 years to decompose, a plastic soda bottle 450 years and a glass bottle can take a million years to decompose.

Carpet doesn’t have a great track record either. As carpets are mostly made of synthetic materials, they take an incredibly long time to biodegrade. What’s worse is that we throw out a lot of carpet – some estimate billions of pounds of it every year.

That leaves some of us in a pickle. We want to get rid of that old shag carpet in the den, but we don’t want our longest-lasting contribution to history to be a piece of tacky carpet in a landfill.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative. Some businesses are now taking old carpets and recycling them. Of course, this isn’t a curbside program. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, there’s a little bit of work involved.

Go to and select the Recycling Search option. Then search for “Carpet” in your area; it should bring up carpet recycling facilities nearby. Not every town has a recycling center, though, so you may need to expand your search to neighboring cities. Once you find a facility nearby, you can take carpet there and they’ll handle the rest.

Keep in mind that some facilities will recycle your carpets for free, but others will charge you. I know that sounds a little backwards, but think of it as an investment. Pay a little now so your shag rug doesn’t become an artifact for future generations – I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

You can also reduce your need for carpet replacement by getting regular carpet cleanings every six months. By having your carpets cleaned regularly, you can extend their life by years – which is great for both the environment and the pocketbook. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of carpet cleaning, visit us at

Thanks to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Carpet America Recovery Effort for the great information.

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