CARE Faces $3.28 Million in Fines from CalRecycle

Sacramento, CA, May 19, 2017-The California Department of Resources Recycling (CalRecycle) has released a draft enforcement plan against Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) and its member carpet manufacturers, according to Plastics Recycling Update.

CalRecycle alleges that the collection and recycling plans submitted by CARE have, for years, failed to meet state standards, and in March, CalRecycle fined CARE for those failures. The fines total $3.28 million, according to a CARE board member.

CARE has requested a hearing to contest the fines.

The unexpectedly low price of oil has handicapped sales of recycled fiber. Customers have no incentive to purchase recycled fiber when virgin fiber is available at a competitive rate. Stymied without an end-use market for the recycled fiber, the carpet industry cannot meet CalRecycle's expectations.

In a recent FloorDaily interview, Bob Peoples, executive director of CARE, explained that five years ago, “polyester wasn’t a factor in the marketplace, and there were plenty of market outlets for nylon, both nylon 6 and 6,6. Now fast forward, and the markets for nylon 6, in particular, have almost completely evaporated. You have the Chinese dumping caprolactam on the global market at depressed prices, which has driven down [the price of] virgin nylon 6, and you have this surge of PET in the marketplace that we’ve never had to worry about, so we’ve had to scramble to figure out how can you use this and put it into products so you can get it out of the landfill.”

In addition, today, polyester represents a larger share of what’s sold in the marketplace, where it has made significant headway in the residential market, so it represents the majority of tonnage of face fiber that recyclers are trying to recycle.

In April, the CalRecycle director rejected CARE’s proposed 2017 stewardship plan. Under state law, AB-2398, CARE must increase the tonnage of diverted post consumer carpet on an annual basis to remain compliant. CalRecycle will consider approving the final plan at a June 20 meeting.

When asked if CARE was in jeopardy of being replaced due to CalRecycle’s finding that CARE is noncompliant with California state law AB-2398, Peoples said, “Our plan is to submit another plan, which we hope will be accepted. If somebody else were to step in right now, it would take them three to five years before they would be where we are today just based on the learning curve.”

Founded in 2002, CARE is a coalition of carpet manufacturers, collector and recycling companies, and state government personnel committed to advancing market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet and encourage design for recyclability. Since its inception, over 4.6 billion pounds of carpet have been diverted from the nation’s landfills.