In our recent article “Choosing Eco-Friendly Carpet For Your Home,” we pointed out some of the potential hazards of your home's carpeting. These hazards are due largely to off-gassed chemical substances like formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene, but the health hazards that can affect your family are also due to dust mites, dirt, and allergens, which can accumulate even in the best and highest quality carpets. It's possible our article might've encouraged you to rip up your old carpets and replace them with any one of the alternative, eco-friendly and recycled carpet brands we recommended. If that's the case, you probably have a lot of carpet scraps sitting around your house at the moment.
The best way to get rid of old carpet is to contact a local carpet manufacturer who, if they practice zero waste in their recycling process, will burn carpet waste as a way to generate electricity and downcycle carpet into a degraded state from the original fiber into backing. More and more carpet manufacturers are focusing on the environmental impact of their product and are developing new products and materials that will one day make carpet recycling possible. But until then, repurposing is always an option.
REPURPOSE OPTIONS FOR CARPET PIECES
- Muffle floor noise: Place a piece of scrap carpet underneath a washer or dryer that's prone to shaking, rattling, and rolling when it's doing a load of laundry.
- Catch fallen laundry: Make small laundry items like socks and underwear easier to retrieve when they fall behind the washer and dryer by placing a narrow piece of carpet on the floor between the two appliances. The next time something falls, just pull out the strip and the clothing item will come with it.
- Weatherproof the doghouse: Make a rain flap for your dog's home by nailing a carpet remnant over the entrance. In colder areas you can also use small pieces of carpet to line the interior walls and the floor to add insulation.
- Make a scratching post: Make a scratching post by stapling carpet scraps to a post or even a board and placing it near your cat's favorite scratching spot: say, next to your brand new couch or chair. You can make the post freestanding by nailing a board to the bottom of the post to serve as a base.
- Keep garden paths weed-free: Place a series of carpet scraps upside down, then cover them with mulch or straw for a weed-free garden path. You can do the same thing for your vegetable garden; just use smaller scraps as mulch.
- Make an exercise mat: Exercise in comfort after cutting a length of old carpet to about 3 feet wide and as long as your height. Roll the carpet up when you aren't using it and store it under your bed.
- Make car mats: Cut carpet remnants to fit the floorboards of your car and drive in cheap comfort.
- Protect your knees: To protect your knees when washing the floor, weeding, or doing other work on all fours, make your own knee pads out of carpet remnants. You'll want to cut the carpet into two 10-inch squares, and then cut two parallel slits or holes in each. Then, run two old neckties or scarves through the slits, and use them to tie the pads to your knees.
- Keep floors dry: Place 12-inch round carpet scraps under house plants to absorb any overwatering excess.
- Prevent scratched floors: Glue small circles of carpet scraps to the bottoms of chair and table legs to stop them from scratching or making black marks on your wood or vinyl floors.
- Cushion kitchen shelves: Reduce the noisy clatter that happens every time you put away pots and pans by placing pieces of carpet in your kitchen shelves and cabinets.
- Add traction: Keep a good-sized carpet scrap in the trunk of your car to add traction when you're stuck in the snow or ice.
- Keep your knees clean: If you store a carpet scrap in the trunk of your car, you'll also be able to use it to protect your knees when you have to kneel on the side of the road to change a flat tire.
- Protect workshop tools: If you put down a few carpet remnants around your workbench, tools or containers that accidentally fall to the concrete floor will be less likely to break.