Urgent Industry News Regarding the Illinois Carpet Recycling Fee!
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. Please see the below bullets explaining some of the issues with this new legislation and visit the links for more information.
The proposed legislation imposes an untested, burdensome regulatory scheme on the sale of carpet in Illinois and would subject carpet sales to a new tax, which will harm the state’s consumers and drive sales to products made by foreign manufactures of alternative flooring products not subject to the proposed law.
The proposed legislation requires that 15% of all carpet be recycled within 2 years (it took California over 8 years to reach this rate)
The industry experienced more than a 15+% decline in carpet sales since similar California carpet tax legislation was passed.
Despite the fact that carpet is not a hazardous product and represents only about 1% of the state's landfill content - far less than paper products (27.2%), food scraps (23.7%), yard waste (8.3%) and newsprint (6.2%) - the American carpet manufacturing community has dedicated itself through both financial investment and industrial expertise to identifying new and innovative methods to divert carpet from Illinois landfills.
Through industry efforts headed by the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), landfill diversion and reclamation of post-consumer carpet have seen double digit increases in every year but one since CARE was founded in 2002, resulting in a total of 420+% increase in landfill diversion during this period, for a total of over 5 billion pounds of carpet diverted.
In 2014, the Carpet and Rug Institute created a Voluntary Stewardship Program, which provides direct monetary support to collector/sorters/recyclers of post-consumer carpet, including businesses recycling Illinois post-consumer carpet.
In an effort led by carpet manufacturers, an Illinois carpet recovery stakeholders group was formed in 2015 to explore new opportunities to increase landfill diversion rates and open the lines of communication between the manufacturing community, retailers, recyclers and sustainability advocates.
This proposed legislation runs counter to market-driven solutions by setting up a mandated product stewardship framework. We encourage participation in collaborative, voluntary efforts to recycle post-consumer carpet, especially those lead by the Industry.
American carpet manufacturing is subject to steep competition from low-cost, low-quality foreign competition and any attempt by the state to unnecessarily regulate and tax carpet sales will significantly increase the challenges faced by our industry.
This proposed legislation does nothing to address the key concern with carpet recycling: what to do with the carpet once it is diverted from the landfill. Indeed, the bill will increase the cost of doing business in Illinois, will increase the costs of carpet to consumers and will very likely reduce jobs in the state, not increase jobs as is being touted.
At Mohawk and at many of our small business retail partners, declining carpet sales have forced us to make deep cuts in spending and reduce our workforce. Now is not the time to place additional burdens on an industry that is voluntarily and successfully making significant headway in reducing the amount of carpet diverted from landfills.