Kavanagh Calls for Passage of Bill Requiring Industry to Recycle Used Carpet

February 6, 2012

New York – New York State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) called today for passage of legislation to require the carpeting industry to take responsibility for ensuring that used carpet is recycled.

Kavanagh’s bill, A8492, originally introduced late in last year’s legislative session, would require manufacturers to collect discarded carpet for recycling upon request from consumers, wholesalers, or retailers. Kavanagh is pushing for enactment of the new program this Spring.

New techniques and advances in recycling infrastructure are making recycling carpet more viable. In a 2011 report, the US Environmental Protection Agency highlighted carpet as one of the top ten materials with the greatest potential for greenhouse gas emissions reductions through recycling.

“For far too long we’ve been filling our landfills with products that can and should be recycled. Carpet offers a real recycling opportunity because it is substantially made from petroleum and takes up a lot of expensive landfill space,” said Kavanagh. “By requiring manufacturers to be responsible for recycling old carpet that is torn up to make way for new carpeting, we can create good jobs here in New York, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money for taxpayers across the state who are currently covering the cost of disposal in local landfills.”

“We applaud Assemblymember Kavanagh for advancing extended producer responsibility policies, such as this carpet legislation, to ensure that products don’t just end up in the garbage at the end of their useful life,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group. “Giving manufacturers cradle-to-grave responsibility for their products will result in products designed to use less material, last longer, and be reusable or recyclable – creating more jobs and less pollution in the process.”

“I commend Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh on his introduction of a bill that will help divert carpet from landfills,” says Sean Ragiel, the President of CarpetCycle, an organization that focuses on post-consumer carpet collection and recycling. “It is socially responsible to recycle carpet which will ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the burden on our landfills.”

“Insuring a life cycle recycling program for products is a critical step to reducing greenhouse gas pollution and keeping products out of the waste stream,” said National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) Executive Director J.R. Tolbert. “Assemblymember Kavanagh’s efforts to insure proper disposal of carpet remnants joins efforts across the country of NCEL members to reduce waste from electronics, lighting, and a host of other products that do more good in the recycling bin then the landfill.”

The bill is currently pending before the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, on which Kavanagh serves.