Rolling out the red carpet could soon also be known as rolling out the “old” carpet in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is part of a midwest effort to recycle carpet — keeping it out of landfills. D-N-R environmental specialist Jeff Geerts is working on the project. The idea is to get the carpet industry to voluntarily establish a recycling program without forcing the effort through new rules. Geerts says a lot of shag and berber gets ripped up and thrown out each year in Iowa. Around 25 to 50 tons of carpet is thrown out every year. He says that makes up one to two percent of the waste in landfills. Geerts says state environmental officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin have joined Iowa in the effort. The carpet industry has agreed to fund a third party group to set up a plan for recycling the carpet. He says there is some recycling already underway. Some companies now offer to recycle carpet at an extra cost to customers. He says the new system would include the recycling expense in the cost of new carpet. Geerts says it’s not known if this plan will cause an increase in the price of new carpet — that depends on how easily the old carpet can be recycled. He says there are lots of possibilities for recycling carpet, such as making it back into new carpet. Geerts says the members of the project will meet this spring to hash out the final details of implementing the recycling program.
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