As we get our house ready to sell, one of the things we need to do is replace the carpet on our stairs. It's looking pretty bad. Happily, I found a nice wool remnant at Marion's Carpet Warehouse: not only was it inexpensive, but finding it gave me that 'reuse' buzz. Okay, while not technically 'used' at least I was able to salvage its discarded remains. :-) But here's a question I've never faced before: could we recycle our old carpet and pad?
Whenever I'm faced with a new recycling conundrum, I always pick up the phone and call the Metro Recycling Hotline: 503-234-3000. Portland peeps, I urge you to write down this number and keep it handy. I've called them dozens of times, and I almost always get a live human immediately. The hotline is an invaluable resource. Unfortunately when I called and asked about carpet and pad recycling, I didn't get great news. You can recycle carpet pads for free (except for felt, horsehair, rag and the waffle type, which is what we have -- they don't accept those types) at two Far West Fibers locations: the one in outer NE at 12820 NE Marx and in Hillsboro at 6440 SE Alexander.
Carpet is trickier. According to Metro, there is no place to take old carpet for recycling. I did find a service that will take it for a fee: $19.50 for the first 480 lbs plus a $9.50 transaction fee. But there is no guarantee that it will actually be recycled because only certain types of nylon carpet can be recycled (the service couldn't give me any other specifics). You just drop off your carpet (pad, too, if you like), pay the fee and maybe it will be recycled, maybe not. What Metro recommends is that you take your old carpet to the Metro Transfer Station in NW Portland. Someone will often sort through and identify the recyclable carpet, pull it out and haul it away for recycling. But you still have to pay the transfer station fee, which is about the same as the above-mentioned service. So it's kind of a crapshoot. And a little confusing. We still have a long way to go in carpet recycling.
You can check the Carpet America Recovery Effort website for carpet recyclers in your area -- and good luck!