Carpets are multilayer textile products with different use applications and consequently different product types. Roughly these product types can be split into 3 main groups: loose laid rugs, wall-to-wall floor coverings and non-flooring applications (e.g. automotive, outdoor sport fields and landscaping).
Whereas the first group represents typical home decoration textiles the second one represents textile floor coverings falling under the EU-Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The industry sector, represented by ECRA (European Carpet and Rug Association) covers appr. 90% of EU’s textile floor coverings production.
Fiber materials used in the carpet industry are mainly polymer based. The use-layers of the textile floorcoverings, depending on the field of application, consist of PP, PA-6 & PA-66 and to a minor part of PET (79%). The remaining 21% are covered by wool, jute, cotton and other natural fibers.
On the way towards a more circular economy, the sector has already undertaken serious steps to investigate collecting and sorting strategies for post-consumer carpet waste (PCCW) in different market segments. This collectively or by individual EPR schemes.
Carpets, today and in the past, have been designed for longevity and in many application sectors, textile floor coverings will last for 15 to 20 years or even longer. Already 25 years ago the EU carpet industry started its environmental program with the founding of GUT (Gemeinschaft umweltfreundlicher Teppichboden e.V.).
Focusing on IAQ (indoor air quality) and HSE (health, safety and environment) related issues during production and use phase in the beginning, the sector soon started to eliminate dangerous substances and additives, like halogenated flame-retardants or heavy metals. Today due to these sector wide accepted environmental design concepts even polymers in legacy products will not contribute to recyclate contamination.
Although collection, identification and separation are key technologies, a circular economy can only be realised when the polymers are made available again for re-use at the end of a carpets lifetime.
Therefore, the cooperation and information exchange between the carpet sector on the one side and polymer producers as well as polymer processors on the other side is of great importance.
set up an independent legal body, CRE (Carpet Recycling Europe) by June 2018, which will take care of circularity and sustainability challenges of the EU carpet sector.
define polymer specific recycling targets in 2019, based on proven calculation models for future available waste streams and polymer contents in carpet waste by setting up a statistical information system targeting specifically at recycling related data.
integrate with „Project 2020“ for the first time, circular economic and sustainability aspects like ease of installation, design for recycling and end of life performance into the ongoing CEN standardisation work.
integrate this standardised information in the already existing voluntary carpet labelling system GUT-PRODIS (PRODuct Information System) to allow a transparent communication to private and professional end-users.
accompany these measures by independent verification processes and ongoing studies to develop the best available recovery technologies for polymers in PCCW.
set up studies and projects to develop new production methods facilitating the recycling of our products concurrently assuring today’s high consumer safety standards.