Guide

Recycling construction materials

Recycling floor and wall coverings from construction projects

Waste from floor and wall coverings includes:

  • carpet
  • carpet tiles
  • vinyl and linoleum
  • laminate flooring
  • wood
  • ceramic and terrazzo tiles
  • wall paper

These items may become waste if they are:

  • damaged during handling and storage
  • cut to fit during laying
  • not considered properly at the design stage
  • excess due to over ordering
  • wrongly selected and therefore not used

Recycling options for floor and wall coverings

You can sell waste from floor and wall coverings to:

  • social enterprises which recondition and refurbish floor and wall coverings
  • specialist recycling services which recover carpet fibres as plastics recyclate and sell on to the plastics and horticultural markets

Floor and wall covering waste can also be used for:

  • road cone manufacture
  • animal bedding material
  • polypropylene bead manufacture
  • reusing carpet recyclate
  • manufacturer take-back schemes

However, there are some limitations on using recycled floor and wall coverings, including:

  • there is no market for recycled 'glued-together' laminate flooring
  • there is little market for recycled carpet
  • the composite nature of carpets means the material is difficult to separate
  • it is hard to tell apart the different polymers commonly used across different carpet types - eg polypropylene, wool rich and nylon

Making changes to your site operations

You can make simple yet effective changes to your site's operations to reduce flooring and wall covering waste and allow more to be recycled by:

  • reusing spare tiles or unfinished rolls of material on another project or returning them to the supplier if a take-back scheme exists
  • selecting a protected, secure area for storage to reduce waste from water and accidental damage - unused tiles or off-cuts can also be stored for reuse in later projects or kept by the client for future replacements
  • putting pollution prevention measures in place

You can find licensed waste sites to recycle or dispose of floor and wall coverings.