Sustainability studies in recycling post consumer carpet

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Subbiah, Valli
Muzzy, John D.
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This thesis presents some novel techniques to process Post Consumer Carpet waste and provides detailed cost comparisons between setting up and running small-scale decentralized units and large-scale centralized chemical facilities. The techniques presented include: a decentralized underlay manufacturing process which does not distinguish between the types of face fiber, a decentralized facility with twin screw extruder to depolymerize nylon 6 face fiber with a concurrent underlay manufacturing facility, a decentralized pallet production facility, and a centralized facility for chemically depolymerizing nylon 6, and nylon 6,6 with a concurrent underlay manufacturing facility The limiting factors to recycling are the collection of significant volumes of material and effective recycling techniques. This is illustrated in this study. The aim of this study is to enable recyclers to assess their recycling activities using various performance parameters, such as payback period of the venture, mass of carpet recycled, and energy used. Thus, this study aims to shed light on the impact of recycling on current carpet consumption per capita. The results indicate that decentralized facilities located in metropolitan areas with populations of over 2 million people have a lower payback period than the large scale centralized facilities that are sparsely distributed throughout the country. These decentralized facilities are also more efficient in reducing the current carpet consumption per capita. The reduced traveling distance for the post consumer carpet from the collection/disposal site to the processing facility should make a huge impact on energy consumption and the corresponding environmental emissions.
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