- THE MAGAZINE
Signed into law on September 30, 2010, AB 2398 is the first product stewardship law in the country to specifically address carpet. Beginning July 1, a $.05 per square yard stewardship assessment will be added to the sale of all carpet sold or shipped into California. The assessment will appear as a separate, after-tax line item to raise consumer awareness about carpet recycling. The revenue generated will be used to incentivize carpet recycling by rewarding entrepreneurs who recycle carpet and produce marketable products made from post-consumer carpet.
Like many textiles, carpet is made of petroleum-based material. Currently, more than 400 million pounds of used carpet are discarded in California landfills each year, an amount representing 39 million gallons of oil that could be put to other uses. Carpet has been recycled for more than a decade in California and across the U.S, and the recovered carpet resources have been used to manufacture new carpet fiber, building and construction materials and products for the consumer and automotive industries, among other uses. A key goal of AB 2398 is to significantly increase the quantities of carpet recycled in California.
The carpet product stewardship program will be administered by Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), a not-for-profit organization formed as a public/private partnership between government entities, entrepreneurs, and the carpet industry to find market-based solutions for carpet recycling. Since the group was founded in 2002, CARE members have diverted more than two billion pounds of carpet from the nation's landfills. CalRecycle will provide oversight for the AB 2398 program, which requires carpet manufacturers to participate in an approved carpet stewardship program as well as conduct consumer education programs.
"CARE has developed communications materials for consumers, such as signs, store placards and informational flyers," said Georgina Sikorski, Executive Director of CARE. "These materials are being distributed and will be in stores by July 1." She emphasized that industry and government alone cannot force recycling to happen. An increase in recycling will need to be driven largely by consumer demand. "As more new carpet customers ask to have their old carpet recycled instead of being landfilled, retailers are finding ways to make that happen," Ms. Sikorski said.
More information about AB 2398 can be found on the CARE and CalRecycle websites at www.carpetrecovery.org and www.calrecycle.ca.gov.