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Trail on recycling wool carpets by composting

28
Aug '09
Ms Kate Chappell
Trials are being conducted in UK to see if wool carpets can be composted to avoid sending around 500,000 tons of carpets to landfills each year. Carpet Recycling UK, an organization, which is involved in increasing recycling of carpets and Vital Earth, a Derbyshire based composter are involved in the effort. A research consultancy ADAS is also investigating the risks that compost made from carpet fibres could pose if it is reapplied to land in separate trials. At present, per annum, only 8,000 tons out of over 500,000 tons of carpet waste goes in to recycling.

Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively with Ms Kate Chappell, Chief Executive of Carpet Recycling UK, to get a better idea of recycling carpets by composting the same. We began by asking her to elaborate on the trials that are being conducted on wool carpets to compost them, to which she said, “Vital Earth is using a small (40 cu m) mobile vessel for the first phase of composting. These provide exceptionally intensive, uniform composting, plus close control and monitoring”.

She added by saying, “After several days at 70°C, the sanitised material is matured under cover, with controlled aeration, until it is ready for screening into various size fractions. Through this process, green wastes from several counties are diverted from land-fill and converted into 'green composts', which can be used to manufacture a range of sustainable peat-free garden products such as Vital Earth Growbag and Multipurpose Compost, which are distributed to garden centres throughout England and Wales. Trails are being conducted to see whether, wool-rich carpets can be used a component and blended with green waste”.

Next we asked her as to what advantages are expected by composting carpets rather than recyling them by traditional methods, to which Ms Chappell said, “Wool-rich carpet has a value as a source of nutrients when used in growing media applications, while other options for recycling wool-rich carpet focus on its calorific value for use as a fuel, or its insulation value”.

To conclude the interview we asked her the contribution her organisation has made till date to the cause of recycling of carpets, to which she replied by saying, “Carpet Recycling UK has been instrumental in researching and developing new end uses for old carpet. As a direct result of our work, carpet waste is being considered as a new raw material in a variety of industries”.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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