Home Reno Salvage Series
Minimizing Home Renovation Waste: Carpet
When starting my home renovation project, one of the things I was most excited to change was the flooring. The entire house (except the kitchen and bathrooms) had a light, neutral, creamy low pile carpet. At least, that's the color it was SUPPOSED to be. Many areas were dark grey, including the entire entry way and the first two sets of stairs. Every single room had a least one large bright red stain. There were nail polish splotches, bald patches (how??) and lingering odors. Even after a professional cleaning, the poor carpets just seemed worn and filthy.
So once it came time to finally rip up these old shags, I really had to think. How could I possibly reuse this material? Is there any saving it?
Despite it's faults, I felt strange just dumping it in the trash. It was sturdy. There were several areas that were in decent condition. I gave it a lot of thought and came up with a list of ideas for salvaging old carpets. Because I know some of you will be ripping up carpet of varying conditions, I've listed several ideas.
Carpet in Good Condition
Sell or Donate
If you're removing baseboards, do this before you clean the carpet because it'll bring up dirt and other nonsense. Then vacuum thoroughly and use a spot treatment where needed. I also suggest spreading baking soda across the entire floor (pick up a bulk size on Amazon), letting it sit and then vacuuming it up. That should help remove or at least minimize odors.
Once everything is as clean as possible, take some nice pictures of the carpet in the empty room. Give your potential buyers the best look possible so they can see there are no stains or signs of wear (hopefully!).
Vegan Baking Soda
Do your best to pull up an entire room at a time. Make cuts with an exacto knife along doorways and other natural breaking points, but otherwise, keep the carpet in as large a piece as possible. This will make it as useable as possible for the next person. Get some help to roll the carpet tightly and bind it closed with painters tape or rope. Don't use anything that might leave a residue.
If you're trying to sell, you can try to list the carpet on these platforms:
local building supply resale (google it for your area)
neighborhood selling apps
If you're donating the carpet, I highly suggest searching for a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area. They specialize in selling home improvement materials (as opposed to a Goodwill) and all proceeds from the sale of these materials goes directly to helping Habitat build homes for those in need. Most stores will list requirements for donations (such as minimum square feet, no stains, etc). But if you're worried you don't meet the requirements, talk to your store and see if they still might be interested in the carpet. Can't hurt to ask!
If you don't have a Habitat ReStore, I'd do a Google search for "donate used carpet las vegas", call local stores like Goodwill and see if they'd use it and of course, ask around! You could even ask a Home Depot, Lowe's or any other contractors with whom you might be in contact.
Carpet in Mixed Condition
When dealing with patchy quality carpet, I'd follow the same cleaning instructions listed above. Then, cut the carpet into strips based on the condition of certain areas. If most of the room is fine, cut large strips of good carpet, roll it and bind it. When you encounter a stain or otherwise crummy spot, cut it out and continue rolling.
When you have areas that are in poor condition, remove and roll it up so it's easy to manage. Then set aside.
Other Recycling Center Searches
Carpet America Recovery Effort is dedicated to finding solutions to post-consumer carpet waste. Their website helps you locate their partners, which are companies that will take your old carpets. Unfortunately, there are not a ton of recycling sites listed on their website, but it's a good place to at least check.
Earth911.com and Recycle Nation also have a "Recycling Locator" which will help you find facilities in your area that take certain recyclables. You can select the kind of material and a zip code. I will say, for my specific search, the information on Earth911.com was slightly outdated and the recycling center they identified isn't actually around anymore. But again, I do think it's worth the quick search to get you going. Recycle Nation had a few more options listed than Earth911.com.
This is the carpet from my project. The good is separated from the bad, rolled and stacked in the garage. P.S. Once piece of carpet I didn't roll takes up just about the same space as aaaaalll the other carpet that's tightly rolled.
For the good pieces:
First, look at your room and imagine cutting out the strips of carpet that are in good condition. How much would you have? Get a rough estimation of the square footage that is in good condition and call any local places that take donations (like Habitat). Ask them if they have a use for carpet in that specific quantity. Who knows!
Offer to Neighbors
If you live in a recently built complex or in a "cookie-cutter" home, it's very likely your neighbors have the same carpet as you do. Maybe someone wants to patch up their carpet and could use yours to do so! This is where a neighborhood selling app may come in handy.
Thanks to the suggestion of team member Debbie Blades, I'll be turning some of the carpet into kitty castles and scratching poles! I'm actually really excited for this idea because 1. I like to be crafty and 2. those things are usually really expensive! Depending how industrious I feel, I may even try to make them to sell. Just be conscientious when considering and idea like this. You don't want to be using carpet that is dirty or smells (which should be obvious) or has any construction material residues hanging around.
You could also use old carpeting as a garage matt, shoe matts for outside your doors, dog house carpeting, knee pads, etc
For any of the pieces you can't repurpose or donate, you can recycle. Check below for my tips on finding a recycling center.
Carpet in Poor Condition
Some carpet just can't (and shouldn't) be repurposed. Sometimes, the safer option is to let the professionals handle it. And let's face it, not all of us want to construct and sell 50 cat castles with an entire house-worth of old carpet.
Some carpet manufacturers will recycle their carpet (and the carpet padding) for you. When you start pulling it up, check along the edges for a tag sewn to the underside of the carpet. That will list product information, which may include the manufacturer (if not, you can google the serial number or other identifying info). If the company doesn't list a way to recycle their carpet, you can always shoot them a quick message, like I have.
Thanks for reading!
Do you have any carpet recycling tips to share?
Recycle Nation discusses recycling options for a variety of items:
Carpet America Recovery Effort:
Earth 911.com tips for recycling carpet, and recycling center locator: