California was 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.
- What the Law Requires
- Key Implementation Dates
- Carpet Stewardship Program Overview (implementation)
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 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, amended the Carpet Stewardship Law. Key elements of AB 1158 include: the establishment of a recycling rate goal of 24 percent by January 1, 2020; the authority for CalRecycle to establish additional recycling rate goals after January 1, 2020 and receive necessary information in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the Program; the establishment of an advisory committee appointed by the Director of CalRecycle to provide comments and recommendations to a carpet stewardship organization or a manufacturer on carpet stewardship plans, plan amendments, and annual reports; the requirement that postconsumer carpet removed from state buildings be managed in a manner consistent with the law; revisions to state procurement manuals to require postconsumer content for carpet purchases; and a clause that prohibits a stewardship organization from using assessment funds for penalties, litigation against the state, and specific types of disposal methods.
- AB 729, effective January 1, 2020, requires carpet stewardship plans to include a contingency plan should the plan terminate or be revoked by CalRecycle and instructs the department to carry out the previously approved plan through an escrow or trust company until a new plan is approved. AB 729 also requires plans to establish a system of differential assessments, increases the civil penalty amount that CalRecycle can assess from $1,000 per day to $5,000 per day, and eliminates the five percent reimbursement cap on the costs that CalRecycle incurs to administer and enforce the Product Stewardship for Carpets Law.
Purpose: The carpet stewardship program is intended to increase the amount of postconsumer carpet that is diverted from landfills and recycled or otherwise managed in a manner consistent with the state’s waste management hierarchy to promote:
- Source reduction
- Recycling and composting
- Environmentally safe disposal
- “Carpet” means a manufactured article that is used in commercial or residential buildings affixed or placed on the floor or building walking surface as a decorative or functional building interior feature and that 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 residential and commercial broadloom carpet and carpet tiles, but 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.
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, monitors 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 describes key elements of a program 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 of the law.
- Goals that increase recycling and reduce disposal of postconsumer carpet, increase collection convenience and collection of carpet, expand and incentivize markets for postconsumer carpet, increase processor capacity, and increase the recyclability of carpets.
- Measures that will enable management of carpet in a manner consistent with the state’s sold waste management hierarchy.
- A system of differential assessments that provides funding 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.
- A contingency plan that demonstrates how the activities in the plan will continue to be carried out should the plan terminate or be revoked by CalRecycle.
See the Carpet Stewardship Program Overview for additional information on stewardship plans.
Financing: A unique and very important aspect of carpet stewardship is long-term, sustainable funding. 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 noncompliance 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 on CalRecycle's 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) was designated in law to serve as the carpet stewardship organization until at least April 1, 2015. Other stewardship organizations may now submit plans and individual manufacturers can also submit plans at any time.