Introduction

Environmental and/or Public Health Impacts

Benefits of Purchasing (and Recycling) Recycled Content Carpet

Related Links


Introduction

This new contract covers the six product categories including modular carpet, broadloom carpet and vinyl composition flooring, most of which contain various amounts of recycled materials, as well as services associated with these product categories. The services also available from Service Providers on the contract (labor will be subject to the current prevailing wage rate) include recycling of old carpet for virtually all carpet brands currently on the market, installation and floor preparation and cleaning, maintenance, repair and removal of carpet and flooring.

The contract award was made to a pre-qualified list of thirteen (13) product manufacturers. Each of these manufacturers has designated one or more Service Providers (SPs-or local distributors) to sell and install their products to the Commonwealth and process all orders. Contract users may purchase any type of flooring product the Contractors supply under their awarded category, and should use the list of SPs to negotiate the best price and best value for their department. Products may be purchased as "goods only" or with installation & other services.

Product Specifications: All carpet and flooring products meet the specifications for heavy commercial traffic Class II wear, ASTM standards for flammability and static protection, stain resistance and more. Low VOC adhesives will be used and F.O.B. delivery is automatically included. Requirements are also included for recycled content levels in most products. (More details below in contract specifications).

Value-Added Service: Recycling of Used/Worn Carpet: Under this new contract, all Service Providers are working with the manufacturers they represent to recycle virtually all used carpet products. The purpose is to eliminate this high volume of waste from the traditional means of disposal, which should serve to conserve landfill space and work toward the overall improvement of air quality. SPs are required to submit certificates from the carpet recycling facility in order to document the proper handling of the used materials.

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Environmental and/or Public Health Impacts

Carpet is usually made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, which are produced from non-renewable petroleum. The process for manufacturing carpet fiber requires high inputs of energy and water and produces significant levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the air emissions which contribute to smog as well as respiratory and other health problems for humans. The production of the final carpet product also requires high levels of energy and water and the use of dyes made from chemicals that become pollutants in groundwater. The installation of carpet often involves the use of adhesives which are a key source of indoor air pollution because of high VOC levels. Finally, the disposal of used carpet also represents and environmental impact, as this bulky waste typically takes up valuable landfill space. Some also ends up in municipal incinerators that further contribute to air pollution.

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Benefits of Purchasing (and Recycling) Recycled Content Carpet

Some reports indicate that over two billion square yards, or over five million tons of carpet is produced annually in the United States alone. If recycled or reused, carpet products can be an important source for materials that can be either reused in carpet products or down-cycled into other useful products.

Because collecting, sorting and transporting used carpet is such a huge challenge, the tasks are being addressed by carpet and fiber companies and individual entrepreneurs. Several companies have collection sites in place and are developing means to separate carpet components and recover polymers. The industry is working towards recycling fiber back into fiber and turning Nylon 6 into new fiber. Some companies are refurbishing used carpet modules.

Carpet systems that meet or exceed CRI's Green Label or Green Label Plus programs can contribute one full Indoor Environmental Quality Credit to the LEED ratings of the U.S. Green Building Council . Projects can earn LEED credits by incorporating salvaged materials-such as refurbished, reused or recycled carpet-into plans for new construction or renovation. Projects can also earn credits by incorporating carpet containing recycled content materials. Recycled content carpet meets the same industry performance standards and carries the same manufacturer warranties as carpet without recycled content.

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Related Links

  1. Green Seal, Choose Green Report: http://www.greenseal.org/resources/reports/CGR_carpet.pdf
  2. Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE - http://www.carpetrecovery.org/
  3. Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) - http://www.carpet-rug.org/index.cfm
  4. CRI Sustainability Report - http://www.carpet-rug.org/pdf_word_docs/03_CRI-Sustainability-Report.pdf

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