A new investigation, entitled ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, has revealed that trade association Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) oversees the incineration of almost 130,000 tonnes of carpet annually.
The investigation, conducted by Changing Markets, Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) and the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), has revealed that although CRUK claims to have increased diversion from landfill from two per cent to 44 per cent, three quarters of this diversion went to incineration in 2018. Only two per cent of the UK’s carpet waste was truly recycled in 2018, according to the report.
Larissa Copello from ZWE said: “As the report shows, voluntary agreements are limited and avoid tackling the heart of the waste crisis by focusing instead on downstream initiatives, such as incineration and downcycling. What is needed in the carpet sector is binding and ambitious policies that tackle the problem at its source by ensuring carpets are designed to be adequately handled at the end of life.
“Extended producer responsibility is a crucial policy tool to ensuring the circularity of carpets as fee modulation within EPR has the potential to encourage producers to better design their products, rewarding toxic-free, reusable and fully recyclable carpets. In fact, a number of major carpet producers in Europe already support mandatory EPR schemes as a way to drive change towards a circular economy.”