CARE Names 2019 People of the Year & Recycler of the Year

Houston, TX, May 2, 2019-Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the non-profit organization charged with advancing market-based solutions for carpet recycling and landfill diversion of post-consumer carpet, has named its Person of the Year and Recycler of the Year for 2018. The honors were awarded during the organization’s 17th Annual Conference, held in Houston, Texas on May 1, 2019.

Person of the Year

Rachel Palapoli, one of CARE’s 2018 Person of the Year recipients, serves as an advisor to the CARE board, the chair of the California Carpet Council, and manages the family carpet recycling and retail business that her father, Sal, founded 20 years ago. Palapoli has over 25 years of experience in the waste management and recycling business. Planet Recycling operates in the Phoenix and San Diego markets.

Person of the Year

Matthew Realff, Ph.D., the other CARE 2018 Person of the Year recipient, has served as a long-term advisor to the CARE board. Dr. Realff is the David Wang Senior Faculty Fellow and professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Realff has produced multiple peer-reviewed academic studies about the carpet recycling industry throughout his career and has worked closely with the executive director on special projects. Dr. Realff’s current research is focused on the design and operation of processes that minimize waste production by recovery of useful products from waste streams. Particularly, he is interested in carbon capture processes both from flue gas and dilute capture from air as well as the analysis and design of processes that use biomass. 

Recycler of the Year

Circular Polymers was founded in 2018 by David Bender, Jeff Kupets, Nick Fiore, and Mark Babich. Operating in Lincoln, California, Circular Polymers uses a novel process to recycle post-consumer carpet. Their process technology converts the post-consumer carpet into high quality consistent feedstock that meets customer specifications. The propriety technology used by Circular Polymers was developed by Broadview Group International LLC in Ohio. The process produces high yields from processing and produces a clean material, something that’s been a challenge with mechanical separation in the past. Circular Polymers used a grant received from the CARE in 2018 to expand its operations and is now one of the fastest growing carpet recyclers in the United States.  

This is an exciting new company that has entered the market and already gone through multiple expansions. They are aggressive in their pursuit of markets and driven to deliver high quality products to succeed. 

Pic: Dr. Matthew Realff and Rachel Palapoli