California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Carpet

Carpet Stewardship Law

California is the first state to establish a private-sector designed and managed statewide carpet stewardship program. This program follows producer responsibility principles to ensure that discarded carpets become a resource for new products in a manner that is sustainably funded and provides jobs for Californians. This page provides information on the carpet stewardship law (California Public Resources Code (Sections 42970 - 42983)) and regulations.

Introduction to California's Carpet Stewardship Law

Discarded carpet is one of the 10 most prevalent waste materials in California landfills, comprising about 3.2 percent of waste by volume disposed of in California in 2008. Most carpet is made from nylon and other polymers derived from virgin oil. Fortunately, numerous products can be manufactured from recycled carpets, including carpet backing and backing components, carpet fiber, carpet underlayment, plastics and engineered materials, and erosion control products. Several carpet recycling facilities currently operate in California, offering jobs, and producing products and feedstock for products made from recycled carpet.

What the Law Requires

See California Public Resources Code (Sections 42970 - 42983) for the initial statute and amendments. The initial statute, Chapter 681, Statutes of 2010 (Perez, AB 2398) set forth the requirements of the statewide Carpet Stewardship Program. Below is an overview. Refer to the law, regulations and the currently approved Carpet Stewardship Plan for more complete information.

Key Elements of the Law

Below are basic descriptions of legislation relevant to the California Carpet Stewardship Program:

  • California Public Resources Code (Sections 42970 - 42983) set forth the requirements of the California Carpet Stewardship Program.
  • AB 1158, effective January 1, 2018, amends Sections 42971, 42972, 42972.5, 42974, 42975, 42982 of the California Public Resources Code, and adds Sections 42972.1, 42972.2, and 42973.5 to the California Public Resources Code.

Purpose: Carpet product stewardship is to increase the amount of postconsumer carpet that is diverted from landfills and recycled into secondary products or otherwise managed in a manner that is consistent with the state’s hierarchy for waste management to promote the following waste management practices in order of priority:

  • Source reduction.
  • Recycling and composting.
  • Environmentally safe transformation and environmentally safe land disposal.

Definitions

  • “Carpet” means a manufactured article that is used in commercial or residential building affixed or placed on the floor or building walking surface as a decorative or functional building interior feature and this is primarily constructed of a top visible surface of synthetic face fibers or yarns or tufts attached to a backing system derived from synthetic or natural materials. It includes broadloom and carpet tiles; it does not include a rug, pad, cushion, or underlayment.
  • Also, see a letter from the author of AB 2398 regarding the definition of "carpet".
  • “Department” means the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
  • "CARE" means Carpet America Recovery Effort, a third-party nonprofit carpet stewardship organization.

See the law, regulations, and the currently approved Carpet Stewardship Plan for more definitions.

Key roles: In very basic terms, manufacturers (either individually or through their stewardship organization) design their own stewardship program: they prepare and implement a plan to reach certain goals, and report on their progress. CalRecycle approves plans, checks progress, and provides oversight and enforcement to ensure a level playing field among carpet manufacturers. Other service providers participate in the management system as negotiated.

Stewardship Plans: The stewardship plan plays a very important role in the program because it defines a program that is in compliance with the law and communicates a course of action to stakeholders and the public. CalRecycle-approved plans will be posted at this website, along with ensuing annual reports. Plans must include information on:

  • How the plan will achieve the purpose.
  • Goals that increase recycling of postconsumer carpet and increase diversion of postconsumer carpets from landfills, increase the recyclability of carpets, and incentivize the market growth of products made from postconsumer carpet.
  • It further states that goals established in the plan shall, at a minimum, be equal to the goals established through the national Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) MOU process (This process was suspended in Fall of 2011).
  • How the plan is consistent with the state’s sold waste management hierarchy.
  • Funding that is sufficient to carry out the plan, including administrative, operational, and capital costs, and payment of fees and incentive payments to cover costs of services provided.
  • Education and outreach efforts.
  • Process for independent audits.

See the Carpet Stewardship Program Overview Program for additional information on stewardship plans.

Financing: A unique and very important aspect of carpet stewardship is long-term, sustainable funding. There are two phases to funding outlined in AB 2398. There is an initial period, July 1, 2011 to January 1, 2013, where manufacturers will assess five cents ($0.05) per square yard that can only be used for early action measures that are consistent with the purpose and designed to achieve measureable improvement in landfill diversion and recycling of postconsumer carpet. After January 1, 2013, manufacturers shall add an assessment to the purchase price of carpet that is approved by CalRecycle. The amount of the assessment shall be sufficient to meet, but not exceed, the anticipated cost of carrying out the plan. The law allows flexibility in the method and associated costs in implementing the plan, provided goals are met. This means the plan may or may not cover the physical costs of recycling and it allows incentive approaches to be used.

Enforcement and Compliance: Maintaining a level playing field among manufacturers is addressed through a combination of civil penalties for non-compliance and transparency that allows all stakeholders and the public to evaluate progress. For manufacturers to be in compliance, they must have an approved plan and demonstrate achievement of continuous and meaningful improvement in the rates of recycling and other goals included in an organization’s plan.

Reporting: Annual reports will be posted at the CalRecycle website. These reports shall include information on amounts of carpet sold, postconsumer carpet recycled, ultimate disposition of collected carpets, program costs, an evaluation of performance and how to improve it, and examples of educational materials.

Carpet Stewardship Program: Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) will serve as the carpet stewardship organization at least until April 1, 2015. At that time other stewardship organizations may submit plans. Individual manufacturers can submit plans as well throughout.

Also, visit CARE's website for information on the implementation of AB 2398 and Frequently Asked Questions.

Key Implementation Dates: Carpet Stewardship Program
Date Activity
July 1, 2011-January 1, 2013 Assessment paid to Stewardship Organization: Manufacturer of carpet shall add a carpet stewardship assessment of five cents ($0.05) per square yard to the purchase price.
September 30, 2011 Submit Plan: Manufacturer (individually or through stewardship organization) submits a plan to CalRecycle.
November 29, 2011 or 60 days after received Comment and Negotiate Plan: Date by which CalRecycle must approve or comment on plan.
March 31, 2012 Deadline for Plan Approval: A plan that is not approved by this date is out of compliance.
April 1, 2012 Subject to Penalties: A manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer that offers a carpet for sale not covered under a plan is subject to penalties.
July 1, 2012, and not later than January 1 and July 1 annually (6 month updates) Notice Regarding Compliant Manufacturers: CalRecycle posts a notice on its website of manufacturers that are in compliance.
July 1, 2012 - July 1, 2014 (annually) Payment to CalRecycle: Carpet stewardship organization shall pay CalRecycle the administrative fee to cover the costs of its service.
January 1, 2013 Adjusted Assessment Paid to Stewardship Organization: Stewardship assessment per unit of carpet sold shall be remitted to the carpet stewardship organization on a quarterly basis and the carpet stewardship organization may expend the assessment only to carry out the plan. CalRecycle approves amount.
July 1, 2012 (Jan. 1 and July 1 thereafter) List of Compliant Manufacturers:  CalRecycle shall post a list of manufacturers that are in compliance at its website.
July 1, 2013 (Annual thereafter) Submit annual report: Stewardship organization demonstrates to CalRecycle that it has achieved continuous meaningful improvement in the rates of recycling and diversion of postconsumer carpet subject to its stewardship plan and in meeting the other goals included in the organization’s plan.
January 1, 2014 CalRecycle and Department of General Services (DGS) prepare report on specifications and standards: CalRecycle and DGS shall complete a study that examines the specifications for carpet purchases by the state and recommendation for any appropriate changes to that standard.
April 1, 2015 Other carpet stewardship organizations, besides CARE, may operate and submit plans to CalRecycle.
May 30, 2015 or 60 days after received Approve Plans: CalRecycle shall review and approve or not approve the revised plan within 60 days after receipt.
July 1, 2015 (annually) Payment to CalRecycle: Carpet stewardship organization(s) shall pay CalRecycle an administrative fee to cover the cost of its service that may not exceed 5 percent of the aggregate assessment collected for the preceding calendar year.
Last updated: October 20, 2017
Carpet Materials Management: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Carpet/
Contact: carpet@calrecycle.ca.gov