In 2002 the carpet industry agreed to reduce carpet landfill waste and made a plan to git-r-done by creating the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). In 2006 the industry diverted 261 million tons of carpet and though it's an overwhelming number, it's still about 250% less than their initial goal. Their recent Independent Assessment by Zero Waste Alliance states:
Overwhelmingly, the number one key barrier to increasing diversion rates is the lack of diverse end markets. The other primary barriers are lack of sufficient education and outreach, and the economics and infrastructure of collection.They also note that "for every 1,000 tons of carpet collected for recycling, about two jobs are created locally." As elementary as it sounds, there's really not a good way of retrieving carpet yet. Even though landfills charge demo teams to throw scrap or used carpet away it has not created a vibrant cottage industry like paper or aluminum. That's unfortunate since carpet recycling is rated by the EPA as only second to aluminum recycling in net avoided greenhouse gases (GHG).
The assessment contains more interesting information and CARE wants your comment on the report and their progress. Visit their site to download the PDF and then comment here.