Business

May 3, 2013

CARE cares

To date, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) has kept more than 2.7 billion pounds of waste carpet out of landfills since the organization was founded in 2002.

And it’s not only out of the landfills. Today, almost 30 percent of recycled carpet goes back into carpet itself.

That’s reason to celebrate in my book.

And that’s what we did this past week in Tampa, Fla., when the CARE board and CARE members came together for our annual conference.

Conferences come and conferences go, but I was struck this time by how effective the “inter-session” networking seemed to be.

Bob Peoples, executive director of CARE, allowed ample time for networking opportunities throughout the conference, giving every person there the chance to stand up and talk about what they do, what challenges they’ve faced and what opportunities they foresee.

That’s the beauty of how this process works. Through the exchange of concerns and ideas, solutions for many of our greatest recycling challenges often materialize.

In a roundabout way, that’s how CARE got its start — as a solution to a problem. The CARE organization evolved as a means of diverting carpet wastes from landfills while creating new consumer products for the marketplace.

Just over a decade ago, there was virtually no carpet-to-carpet recycling, and landfills across the nation were piling up with carpet waste. CARE was established to provide a means for recycling and reclaiming carpet and its byproducts in a kind of “win-win” situation. Innovative entrepreneurs could establish new businesses that our free market economy could support. And in the process, the environmental impact of discarded carpet in our landfills was greatly reduced.

Last year alone, more than 351 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was diverted from U.S. landfills, up 5 percent from 2011. And CARE has increased its membership to more than 450 members across the nation, each membership representing a stage in the supply chain: collectors, sorters, processors, converters and end-product users.

When those collectors, sorters and end-product users get together, as they did last week, they find solutions to all sorts of problems.

I’ll give you an example. About seven or eight years ago, we had come up with a way to recover and recycle Nylon 6, but we hadn’t come up with a solution to reuse Nylon 6,6 — a byproduct of this reclamation process.

So across the country, Nylon 6,6 began accumulating in warehouses. There was some concern about how we were going to use it and how we were going to deal with the growing “inventory” of this product.

Then, all of a sudden, some innovative people came up with a solution. A solution that resulted in a good business model for them. That solution was to produce a product for automotive applications for under hood parts. In fact, Bob is proud to tell people there are 2 square yards of post-consumer carpet under the hood of every Ford F-150 pickup truck and that’s just one example. Now we don’t see piles of Nylon 6,6 in warehouses across our land because we have found a use for it. Plain and simple.

We’re now in a similar situation with the polyester that comes from our polyester carpet. It’s a bit harder to collect, so we’re beginning to pile up a great deal of it. Consequently, there has been some concern about how we’re going to extract enough of the raw material from it for the reclamation process to be profitable or useful. While it will take some time to develop, we heard at least two new opportunities on the horizon and both ideas came from entrepreneurs at the meeting.

Through networking opportunities like the one we had last week, I have a feeling that all will be well. As an eternal optimist, I believe that if you have good people “working the problem,” the right solutions will be found and new opportunities for growth and profit will emerge.

And in a few years, my guess is that we will wonder why we were concerned at all.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate up to 8.8 percent in May

    The unemployment rate for Metro Dalton — Whitfield and Murray counties — increased to 8.8 percent in May, up from 8.2 percent in April, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.

    June 26, 2014

  • Powells back open 1 mlh.jpg Town Square Cafe carries on Powell’s tradition

    The sign above the door at 116 W. King St. may be different, but many of the faces inside remain the same.
    Jenny Lynch, owner of the Town Square Cafe, said she has retained many of the staff and even some of the recipes from Powell’s Country Kitchen, which had been a downtown Dalton landmark in the building since 1979.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region earns ‘manufacturing community’ designation

    Northwest Georgia, including Whitfield and Murray counties, has been chosen as one of 12 regions nationwide that could get federal funds to sustain and expand manufacturing.

    June 1, 2014

  • Siegle, James-ColOR.jpg Synthetic turn pioneer Jim Siegle dies

    He was known as “The Grand Gentleman of Turf.”

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro Dalton’s jobless rate falls again

    Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in April, down from 8.6 percent in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

    May 22, 2014

  • Community & Southern Holdings to acquire Alliance National Bank

    Community & Southern Holdings Inc. said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire Alliance Bancshares Inc. and its subsidiary, Alliance National Bank.

    May 16, 2014

  • Biz expo '14 2 mlh.jpg At energetic expo, local business owners see signs of economic rebound

    “You give it your all.”
    That’s the biggest lesson Hank Fetzer says he learned after he helped start a business last year with his father Stan. But the importance of having drive, something his father taught him, also meant his father was someone he “didn’t see much” growing up.

    May 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Carolyn Roan: What are you looking for?

    In my last column, I wrote about how important it is to get pre-qualified for a loan before starting a new home search. If you’re a seller you also need to understand the thought processes that buyers go through when they’re choosing a new home.

    April 25, 2014

  • Feds: home health company paying $150M settlement

    Amedisys Inc., a Baton Rouge-based home health company with operations in Whitfield and Murray counties, will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it inflated Medicare billings and had improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the U.S. Department of Justice said this week.

    April 24, 2014

  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate declines to 8.6 percent in March

    The Georgia Department of Labor said today that Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. The rate was 10.4 percent in March a year ago.

    April 24, 2014