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Removing and Disposing of Old Carpet the Cheapest Way

News > Removing and Disposing of Old Carpet the Cheapest Way

Rolls of Carpet ready for disposal
Watch any renovation program or look at any renovation website and you will be sure to be struck by the flooring. But to get the desired finish, it is usually necessary to get rid of the old floor coverings.  In many, many cases the floor covering was most likely to have been carpet.  

So here is the thing, what is the best way to get rid of the carpet?  Well the first question is, what is the carpet like?  If you research this subject enough you will see that there are suggestions that you can reuse, re-purpose or recycle the carpet.  One of the suggestions I notice was the idea that you should get your sales hat on and get out there and flog you old carpet.  Sounds like a great idea. So with one quick Google search you might find that this dream comes crashing down.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of second hand carpets for sale on gumtree or the trading post.  I suspect that if you have some quality rugs or really good carpet you might be lucky. But on the whole I suspect not even 5% of carpet gets a second life in a new home.

Next comes re-purpose, so what that all about? Well there is a section of the waste industry that would like you to take you old unwanted goods and think of a different use for them, a different purpose.  Yes ago it might have been a case of taking you old carpets and using them for flock wall paper in you local Asian restaurant. Sorry I don't think that will be a goer this week.  The best suggestions that I have seen in preparing this piece is the suggestion of using old carpet for mulching in you yard. Putting pieces of carpet around plants will help to keep moisture in the ground, thus helping your garden or the plants in it grow. Yep another nice idea, but I am not sure what the take up on this idea will be.  As I have not see any commercial quantity of this re-purposes going on. I suspect that it might be more of an urban myth.
Is this going to be a day of disappointment? Well I hope not. Though brace yourself because when  I researched recycling carpet I didn't find any general businesses specialising in recycling carpets. I only found one or 2 carpet manufacturers who spoke of recycling their own brand of carpet and the proud product stewardship schemes that they had. I.e. they are only interested in recycling their brand of premium price carpet, so they might not be much hope for most of us there either.

That leaves us with disposing of the carpet and how you might do that. Well one way that I am familiar with of disposing of carpet in a skip bin. The challenge here is what sort and size of skip bin will I need.  The good news is that in most places around Australia you can get rid of carpet in skip bins quite easily. However we do recommend that you check for exclusions and small print because there are some places where the landfill doesn't want your carpet. The other thing to check is whether the carpet is allowed in general light waste bins or if it needs to go in a heavy waste bin.

The differentiation of the carpet into heavy or light waste bins is usually associated with whether the local landfill accepts it and what they charge for it.  Some time it will be accepted in a General Light waste skip bin and you should just check it there is a weight light or allowance associated with the contents of the bin. Lost of disposal sites are charging for the contents of the skip bins  by the tonne. So if you have carpet that is rubber or form backed this can make the carpet heavier.  Also it it rains the carpet acts like a big sponge, soaking up the rain and making it very heavy.  So if you are responsible for paying for the weight of the contents of your bin, and it is going to contain carpet. Make sure you keep it dry.

Well now down to the brass tacks of carpet disposal in a skip bin. What size bin do you need.  Well the way we would handle it is to calculate the solid volume of the carpet and then increase that volume to represent the way you intend to load it into the skip bin.  If you were re-carpeting a small house with 3-bedrooms, a lounge, dining room, bathroom and corridors. First up work out the area of floors that are covered with carpet. Bedrooms migh be 3m by 3m which is 9m2. By 3 is 27m2. For the other rooms maybe another 68m2. So 97m2 in total.  Now carpet is about 10mm thick so the solid volume would be 0.97 cubic meters (0.97m3). Here is the magic bit. If you just rip the carpet out and throw it in a bin it is likely to to fill a 4m4 bin because there will be lots of air between the folds of carpet.

So the art to the cost effective disposal of carpet is to get rid of the air between the layers of carpet.

Some people will cut the carpet up in to lengths that are as wide at the bin and as long as possible. Then they can roll up the strips of carpet and place the rolls of carpet in the skip bin. This seems like an efficient was of filling the bin but there are still a lost of wastes space between the rolls and in the center of the rolls and of course it is hard to get the rolls, rolled tight and there is space between the rolls.  I estimate that rolling the carpet up is about 45% efficient i.e. the volume of the carpet is more than doubled. So you might need a 3m bin to accommodate the 0.97 solid volume of carpet.

I suspect the best way to pack the skip bin is to cut the carpet into squares or rectangles that can be fitted into the bin with the least amount of space between the layers. But even with this method there will be space at the edges of the carpet etc. so you might get more like 75% efficiency. I.e. the 0.97 cubic meters of carpet still takes up about 1.5 cubic meters of bin. 

  • Authored By:Stephen Shergold
  • Updated:14/11/2021