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What is Recycled Plastic Carpet?
Carpet made out of recycled plastic is most commonly referred to as PET carpet. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate and is a plastic resin that is a form of polyester. Bottles and containers made with PET plastic are marked with a #1 code on or near the bottom of the bottle. PET plastic is a high quality plastic used by manufactures for food products, household cleaners and cosmetics because it is lightweight, transparent, shatter-proof and recyclable.
Each square yard of carpet keeps about 30 plastic soda bottles out of our landfills. The bottles are sorted, broken up and ground into small plastic chips. These chips are cleaned and melted. The melted plastic is molded into tiny plastic thread and spun into carpet yarn. When purchasing carpet made of out PET carpet fibers look for names such as Resistron, Resistron ISF, Everstrand and Permalon. Recycled plastic carpet has the same look, texture, price and softness as traditional carpet.
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How is Carpet Made Out of Recycled Plastic?
The transformation of a 2-liter soda bottle into carpet starts at a recycling center. Plastic bottles are collected, compacted into 1,200 pound bales and shipped to a processing plant. At the processing plant these bottles are vigorously scrubbed, and the caps and labels are removed. The cleaned plastic bottles are then ground into chips and further sanitized to remove all impurities. The PET plastic chips are then sent to a carpet plant.
Once at the carpet plant, the PET chips are melted into a honey-like consistency and molded into fibers about the thickness of human hair. These fibers are spun into carpet yarn and used to make colorful, durable and very stain-resistant carpet. The PET fibers must meet federal strength standards. The caps and labels are then used in the production of carpet cores and pads.
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Benefits of PET Recycled Soda Bottle Carpet
Plastic bottles are becoming a bigger environmental problem every year. The production of plastic water bottles uses over 47 million gallons of oil and generates 1.5 million tons of waste every year. Carpet manufacturers are becoming more concerned with the impact on the environment and producing more PET recycled soda bottle carpet. Consumers are also starting to see the advantages of purchasing carpet made of out recycled plastic. Although currently used PET carpet cannot be recycled into more carpet, the fibers can be recycled and used for car parts, insulation, furniture stuffing and many other applications.
Top quality PET resins are required by the US Food & Drug Administration to be used to make soda bottles. Therefore, recycled plastic carpet fibers are generally of higher quality than other synthetic carpet fibers. PET plastic also has a higher melting point and density than nylon which makes it exceptionally strong and durable. PET carpet fibers are naturally stain, wear and fade-resistant. They express a low moisture absorption and high static control. PET carpets are available in a wide variety of colors and are as soft and thick as traditional carpet.
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Carpet America Recovery Effort
Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons – Effeietsanders