Americans discard about three million tons of carpet each year. Despite 20 years of voluntary industry initiatives to collect and recycle this product, only 9% of carpet is recycled nationwide. Carpet is a bulky waste item that takes up considerable landfill space, is costly for local governments to manage, and poses human health risks: It can release hazardous chemicals, including flame retardants and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, carpet can be safely recycled into valuable materials used in a range of products, such as textiles, automotive parts, consumer packaging, composite lumber, and new carpet.

There is currently only one carpet EPR law in the United States: California’s law passed in 2010, and it was amended in 2017 and 2019. The law created more than 500 jobs and achieved an annual recycling rate of over 20%. This year, three state legislatures are considering carpet stewardship bills that draw on lessons learned from California’s program: Illinois (HB 4356 and SB 3040), Minnesota (HF 1426 and SF 1171; SF 4062), and New York (S 5027C and A 9279a); a reconciled New York bill is expected to be passed in both chambers and then sent to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature. PSI’s model carpet EPR bill, developed originally in 2014 and updated often, provided the basis for all three bills; PSI also supported their passage by providing expert testimony.

To advance EPR for carpet in the U.S., PSI also hosted a carpet recycling web symposium, facilitated a national multi-stakeholder carpet stewardship dialogue meeting, released a How-To Guide for Advancing Carpet Stewardship, developed a foundational Carpet Stewardship Briefing document, and produced several webinars. Suna Bayrakal, PSI’s Director of Policy and Programs, also sits on the California Carpet Stewardship Program Advisory Committee.

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