While the DuPont™ Sorona® life cycle assessment only covers Cradle to Gate (the point at which the DuPont product is sold to another manufacturer), DuPont understands the important role carpet recycling plays in helping to reduce the environmental footprint over the whole life cycle.
That’s why DuPont looked at the end of the carpet’s useful life. DuPont research has proven that face fiber made with Sorona® can be shaved from the carpet backing, turned into pellets, and spun into new fiber. In fact, there are even more potential ways to recycle carpet made with Sorona®.
Several Ways to Recycle Carpet made with Sorona®
Sorona® is a thermoplastic material that, when used in any type of carpet, including carpet tiles, can be melted and reformed. Existing carpet recycling facilities do not accept PTT fiber for recycling today, but potential carpet recycling options include:
Fiber-to-Fiber: Reprocess fiber and extrude to high-quality pellets to be used in new yarn manufacturing. There are systems in place today to identify and differentiate PTT carpet.
Tile-to-Backing: Reprocess tiles into new carpet backing. This is compatible with processes in place for manufacturing flooring from recycled materials.
Chemical Conversion to Monomers: De-polymerize the fiber to produce high-purity monomers to be used in new polymer and yarn manufacturing. Three available conversion routes are hydrolysis, glycolysis, and methanolysis.
Conventional Carpet Recycling Processes: Carpet made with Sorona® is compatible with PET recycling streams. Fiber can be reprocessed into automobile parts, injection molded components, geotextiles, carpet pads, etc. With the Waste-to-Energy process, carpets that cannot be converted into new products can be converted into fuel.
Sorona® Fiber-to-Fiber Recycle Test
DuPont conducted a test in which carpets made with Sorona® were sheared, then the fiber was melt-pelletized and blended with virgin Sorona® polymer. This polymer blend was spun into fiber using standard BCF melt-spinning equipment. The resulting carpet containing recycled fiber maintains excellent performance. This carpet recycling process is patent pending.
Sorona® Tile-to-Backing Recycle Test
In this test, carpet tiles made with Sorona® were chopped and then blended with virgin Sorona® polymer and melt-pelletized. This polymer blend was compression molded and/or injection molded. The resulting carpet demonstrates the compatibility of recycled Sorona® in standard flooring processes. This carpet recycling process is patent pending.
The Potential for Carpet Recycling
With both performance and measurable environmental benefits, it’s easy to see why Sorona® is the most revolutionary carpet material in decades.