Carpet re-use technologies have given new life to old carpets, spurring growth in recycling after a plateau of several years. In recognition of this breakthrough, two developers of carpet fiber recycling technologies received a World Global Energy Award in Brussels, Belgium, in May 2008.
Frank J. Levy, president of Stellamcor Inc., Quogue, N.Y., and Sergio Dell’Orco, president of Dell’Orco & Villani, Capalle, Italy, co-own Post Consumer Carpet Processing Technologies (PCC), one of three winners in the international event’s “Earth” category. Five billion pounds of used carpet end up in U.S. landfills each year. “If incinerated,” says Levy, “the carpets will release toxic chemicals. If accumulated, they never will disintegrate, posing terrible problems for future generations.”
PCC equipment can separate nylon fibers from polypropylene backing so both can be reused. Interface Inc., LaGrange, Ga., the world’s third-largest carpet manufacturer, now operates the first PCC recycling line, up and running since September 2007. The company estimates it can process 25 million pounds of used carpeting a year. “It was love at first sight,” says Eric Nelson, vice president of Interface Americas. “[PCC’s] technology has really given us a big step forward.”