How retailers are looking at innovative new ways to recycle carpets and rugs

Whether you’ve just moved into a new house or are redecorating your existing one, one of the issues you may need to address is what to do with your old carpets and rugs.

How retailers are looking at innovative new ways to recycle carpets and rugs

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Bulky and cumbersome, an old carpet could, of course, just go into the skip – but then that, in these increasingly environmentally-aware days, is seen as a waste of resources and materials.

Every year an estimated 400,000 tonnes of old rugs and carpet is dumped onto landfill sites in the UK. But with a little time, thought and effort, much of that waste could be reduced.


More and more businesses in the country are looking at ways their old carpets can be recycled or even reused. There are now an increasing number of ways this can be done, and retailers are leading the way.

Carpets are manufactured from both synthetic and natural fibres, which do not lose their value if they are a bit worn or dirty. Under recycling programmes, much of these fibres can be reclaimed and reused in a wide variety of applications – everything from insulation to sports surfaces can be made using recycled carpet fibre.

According to Carpet Recycling UK, synthetic carpets can be shredded and used to produce surfaces for equestrian centres, nylon can be reclaimed and used to form washing machine parts, while wool carpets can be recycled into insulation, underlay or even soil enhancers.

Retailers and businesses can now send their old carpets directly to a specialist carpet recycler – there are plenty dotted around the country.

The Domestic Choice

Householders have a range of choices when removing and replacing carpets. If the carpet is in good condition, say you’re replacing it simply because you don’t like the colour, then consider donating it to someone in need. There are plenty of organisations, such as Freecycle, which can help you locate somebody who would be very glad of your old floor covering.

Other potential places to send your unwanted carpets include your local animal shelter – carpet tiles, such as those at, make great mats for kennels – or allotment group (to keep weeds at bay).

You can even use old carpet for lining ponds, or put it in the loft as extra insulation.

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