Advocates Hail New Carpet Recycling Law

Law will make New York only the second State to require carpet producers to take responsibility for end-of-life management of their products

For Immediate Release: December 30, 2022

Albany – Today, advocates applauded Governor Hochul for signing A.9279-A/S.5027-C, which establishes an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for carpeting by setting mandatory goals for carpet recycling; creating convenient collection locations, and phasing out harmful PFAS chemicals from new carpet production. California is currently the only other state with such a program. The bill was sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Steve Englebright. 

Carpet is largely made of plastic from fossil fuels and it also contains a wide range of chemicals, used as adhesives and stain protectants, that, whether by affecting indoor air quality in homes or leaching into drinking water supplies, can be toxic to human health. It currently fills up New York landfills at the rate of 515 million pounds per year. Although the national average for carpet recycling is 5%, the rate in New York is a paltry 1%, and local governments and businesses spend in excess of $22 million annually to dispose of it.  

By requiring carpet producers to take full responsibility for their products, New York is helping create a circular economy for durable products with permanent full-time carpet recycling jobs. Recovered carpet can be recycled into valuable materials for which there is already high demand, including PET, PP, and nylon materials. These, in turn, can be used in a range of products such as textiles, automotive parts, composite lumber, and new carpets.  

This law also prohibits toxic and ubiquitous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS “forever chemicals”), which are used on carpet as stain repellents. PFAS chemical exposure has been linked to developmental and reproductive disorders and cancer. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects as they spend more time on carpeted surfaces and engage in hand-to-mouth activities. In addition, a PFAS phaseout will help eliminate the leaching of PFAS into the environment from landfills.  

Quotes (in alphabetical order by organization)

“This is an impressive environmental victory prompting much more carpet recycling and requiring that carpet producers take financial responsibility for their product. Most importantly, chemical recycling will not count as real recycling,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and President of Beyond Plastics

“The passage of carpet recycling legislation in New York is a significant win for the environment and the economy. Carpet is one of largest single items sent to New York landfills. With this new law, Circular Polymers by Ascend can take New York’s disposed carpet and transform it into raw materials that can be used to create new products,”said David Bender, Chief Executive Officer of Circular Polymers by Ascend.

“Clean+Healthy applauds the signing of this bill. A critical component is a ban on toxic PFAS chemicals in carpet. As we shift again to reuse of materials, it is even more critical to ensure they don’t perpetuate a toxic legacy. Thank you, Governor Hochul for making carpet collection a law, and to Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Englebright for sponsoring it,” said Bobbi Wilding, Executive Director of Clean+Healthy.

“Disposed carpet fills up New York landfills at the rate of 515 million pounds per year, and not to mention, often contains dangerous PFAS chemicals that exposure our families and children within the home. This legislation meaningful addresses both of these problems, while importantly requiring the producers of the carpet to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of the products end of life. We commend Governor Hochul for signing this bill and Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Englebright for their leadership in establishing this program,” said Kate Kurera, Deputy Director of Environmental Advocates NY

“Having worked on the first carpet stewardship program in the world which passed in California in 2010, I am delighted that we finally have seen the adoption of only the 2nd bill in the world 12 years later,” said Heidi Sanborn, the Founding Director of the National Stewardship Action Council.  “Despite implementation challenges, California still achieved a 27% recycling rate while New York’s recycling rate is currently at 1% and the carpet recyclers are struggling to survive.  We look forward to working closely with New York to ensure that carpet stewardship works in the U.S. for benefit of the public and the climate.”

“This legislation promises to divert hundreds of millions of pounds of petroleum-based carpeting from polluting landfills and incinerators — chopping climate-altering emissions and disposal costs for municipalities across the state.  It’s one of many building blocks needed to reach New York’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals.  Our thanks and appreciation to Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Steve Englebright and Governor Kathy Hochul for their leadership and commitment,” said Eric A. Goldstein, New York City Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  

“We must move away from tossing everything in the trash and using harmful chemicals and toward a circular economy and zero waste. Thanks to Governor Hochul, Senator Kavanagh and Assemblyman Englebright, New York is taking steps to clean up the carpet industry from production to disposal. We applaud the Governor for signing another NYLCV 2022 Scorecard bill, Carpet Stewardship, into law. This measure moves the state one step closer to zero waste, promotes the circular economy and cuts forever chemicals out of carpets in our homes and workplaces–that’s a win for the environment and for public health,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. 

“A carpet recycling program in New York will attract recycled carpet manufacturers and create new sustainable jobs in New York,” said Bob Rossi, Executive Director of the New York Sustainable Business Council (NYSBC). “The raw materials recovered from carpet recycling will provide plastic feedstock for new textiles and other products. This initiative is essential to building a circular economy and is projected to save taxpayers and businesses millions of dollars per year in disposal costs. New York State has the potential to become a national if not global leader in carpet recycling. Our business community applauds Governor Hochul for signing the Carpet EPR bill into law.”

“The enactment of New York’s carpet EPR bill benefited from two decades of advocacy from experts across the country, including those from state and local governments, environmental groups, and carpet recyclers,” said Scott Cassel, the CEO and founder of the Product Stewardship Institute. “This next-generation carpet EPR law is yet another indication that the overwhelming public sentiment is for producers to take responsibility to prevent negative impacts from their products and packaging all through their lifecycle.”



Brian Keegan, [email protected],  518.462.5526