CFA Working to Block Carpet Recycling Fee Legislation in Illinois

Chicago, IL, June 3, 2019-The Chicago Floorcovering Association (CFA) has released the following statement about Illinois Senate Bill 557, carpet recycling fee legislation. The proposed legislation would institute a $0.36/square yard recycling charge on all products sold in Illinois, and the CFA is working to block this bill from passing. 

The letter from CFA president Fred Scharm is as follows, 

“The intent of this letter is to inform you about the Illinois Senate Bill 557 regarding a Carpet Recycling Fee Legislation. If you are a carpet manufacturer or retailer you may have seen letters circulate regarding this Bill, like the Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries letters from March 25th. In these letters they explain what this bill means to sell carpet in Illinois.

“This is a segment of Mohawk Industries Letter:

‘Senate Bill 557 has been filed in the Illinois Legislature to put into place a mandatory carpet recycling program. This mandatory carpet stewardship would:

​* Require manufactures to add 36-cent charge to every square yard pf carpet sold in Illinois vs Indiana or Wisconsin.

* Require flooring retailers to add an additional line item fee on every sale of carpet

* Require a study of potential future band of all carpet from landfills

* Enforce a $5,000 per day penalty on any flooring retailer failing to comply

* Require that 15% of all carpet be recycled within 2 years (it took California over 8 years to reach this rate)

​“‘This proposed carpet recycling program will directly and adversely impact your business. The industry has experienced more than a 15% decline in carpet sales since similar California carpet tax legislation was passed.’

“Additionally, we believe the bill may give the big box stores with distribution in other states like Indiana and Wisconsin a competitive advantage by avoiding this fee. Illinois flooring stores at the borders may also be affected by nearby out of state companies. 

“Since the Mohawk and Shaw letters were sent out, the Illinois State Senate has passed Senate Bill 557. On April 30th it was assigned to the Illinois House of Representatives Subject Matter, Labor and Commerce Committee.'

“To provide clarity and take action on this issue, the CFA has been in communication with the Illinois Carpet Recycling Stakeholders Group (ICRSG) and the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Government Relations representative. 

​“The Illinois Carpet Recycling Stakeholders Group was developed in 2015, by Illinois State Senator (Lake County) Melinda Bush, to study recycling of carpet and how to divert it from landfills. This group is managed and facilitated by Julie Manley and Bob Peoples (President) of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) group The CFA was a member of the ICRSG in 2016 and 2017. Fred Schmidt and Fred Scharm were our representatives and sat on the board. Despite inconclusive studies by the ICRSG, Senator Bush decided to push this Bill through the Senate (after many previous attempts) and was successful. The SB557 passed the Senate on April 11, 2019 after the third reading. 

“On Tuesday, May 7th the CFA participated in a meeting with Congressman Michael J. Zalewski (Chairman of the Labor and Commerce Committee) and the Illinois Carpet Recycling Stakeholders Group (including five members of the EPA).  In this meeting the representative from Mohawk Industry made several valid points against this Bill. 

“Congressman Zalewski said there are many more important Bills to look at before he moves on to this Bill. He mentioned that he must spend time analyzing this Bill and would like all details before making a decision. He asked the ICRSG to continue their research. On a positive note, the Congressman said that he would amend this Bill to possibly eliminate the $0.36 tax and the mandatory elimination of carpet from landfills. 

“The CFA is actively pursuing this issue. We have joined forces with the CRI to help block Senate Bill 557. The CRI has the support of the Carpet Mills, Illinois Retailer Merchant Association (IRMA) and Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA). The CFA has invited Jennifer Stowe to speak at our State of the Industry Dinner in the fall. This is a very impactful issue, and we will need the help and support of the Illinois Floorcovering Retailers. Your attendance in the fall will show your support and you will be informed on what you can do to help.”

Related Topics:Mohawk Industries, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Carpet and Rug Institute