• Second Opinion Magazine

Dreamhouse Interiors Brings Carpet Recycling to Eau Claire

Carpet is the second most renewable resource that’s thrown into the landfill; yet of the 5.3 billion pounds of carpet discarded in the United States in one year, only 4.6 percent is being recycled.

Dreamhouse Interiors, an innovative local flooring dealer, has introduced carpet recycling to the Eau Claire area in an effort to prevent the continued wasting of valuable natural resources.

Dreamhouse Interiors sells and installs brand-name carpet, ceramic tile, and hardwood floors. Many of their projects involve removing old carpet from wood floors they are going to refinish or replacing existing carpet and pad. Dreamhouse Interiors owner Gordy Pillar thought there were alternatives to sending carpet to landfills, so he took it upon himself to research various options. That led him to a company in the Twin Cities that recycles carpet. Pillar knew collecting the carpet would not be a problem. Finding an outlet for the used carpet was the key.

“Rather than simply send used carpet and pad to the landfill, we wanted to get it recycled,” Pillar said. “Our collected carpet is sent to the Twin Cities where it is sorted and processed. From there, the recycled nylon is made into new carpet, parking curbs, park benches, car parts, and more. There are a lot of things they make with the nylon after it is melted down. Dreamhouse Interiors saved more than 130,000 pounds of carpet from the local landfill in this past year.

The recycling company Pillar found collects and processes more than 500,000 pounds of carpet and pad for recycling every week. As of January 1, 2012, it has processed more than 5,933,000 pounds of carpet and pad at its recycling plant. Put another way, 6 million pounds of carpet waste is equivalent to about 9,800 cubic yards. If that was stacked in a 10×10-foot room, the pile would be more than 2,400 feet high. By comparison, the Sears Tower is 1,707 feet high—when you include the antennas at the top!

The issue of dwindling landfill space has caused waste firms to take a closer look at the items being buried in their hills. Carpet and pad routinely are near the top of the list when it comes to trash volume. Because of the fact that carpet is a petroleum-based product, recycling it also reduces the need to drill for new crude oil. 1,000 square yards of carpet saves 4,500 pounds from landfills, which saves 440 gallons of oil.

Pillar recognized the need for action, even in a rural area such as northwest Wisconsin, though economical concerns also played a part. “Whether it’s one room or a whole truck load recycled, it is way cheaper than sending it to the trash hauler, and it’s still not going to end up in the landfill.”

Though Dreamhouse undertook the effort on its own, Pillar hopes others will participate in such a program too. “Our situation is not unique. Every flooring store deals with the expense of throwing away renewable resources like carpet and pad.” He continued, “Hopefully more will join us in recycling theirs.”

Learn more about Dreamhouse Interiors on www.dreamhouse-interiors.com.

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