LIFE ClosedLoopCarpet - Demonstration of separation and closed loop recycling of carpet waste into polymers for reuse in carpet production

LIFE12 ENV/NL/000269

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Marco VAN BERGEN
Fax: 31416335955
Email: MvBergen@Desso.com

Project description:


The manufacturing of carpet is linear: virgin raw materials are used to make yarn, backing and other materials, which are then used to manufacture carpets. This process is not sustainable in the long run: it consumes large quantities of primary resources and adds considerably to waste sent to landfill. Europe discards annually approximately 1 600 kilotonnes of post-consumer carpet material. Some 60% of this material is sent to landfill, which is undesirable because the materials in carpets – especially nylon – are generally not biodegradable. Carpet waste not landfilled is generally incinerated in municipal waste incinerators or cement kilns. The main environmental impacts of carpets throughout their lifecycle are the use of energy and (scarce) resources for the production of raw materials, pollution of soil and groundwater caused by landfilling, and air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases caused by incineration. Of these impacts, the first is by far the most important: the main environmental impact of carpets is related to the production of materials that are used in the manufacturing process, notably in the production of nylon yarn.

In 2009, DESSO established a take-back and recycling programme for used carpets in six EU countries. While the amount of carpet waste returned is steadily increasing, there are still some technical challenges in the separation of the waste material into reusable compounds.


The project will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of a separation line based on innovative shredding and cryogenic separation technology, capable of separating discarded carpet material into its primary resources, which can directly be used in the production of new carpets or for depolymerisation. The project expects to increase the purity of the final material from 85% to at least 97%. Since closed-loop carpet recycling is not possible without this process, this can be considered a breakthrough technology.

The project aims to:

  • Develop a cradle-to-cradle manufacturing process for carpets;
  • Produce recovered material of high quality, which is necessary for reuse in high-quality applications. For this, a sophisticated separation and purification line is required to ensure that the recovered materials, including polyamide (one of the main resources in carpet manufacturing), can be reused; and
  • Recycle each output material as much as possible of into new high grade materials.
  • Expected results: The project will put in place a pilot separation and purification line with a capacity of 92 tonnes/yr carpet waste. The pilot installation will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the separation of carpet waste, provide data on the separation of carpet waste into homogeneous polymers and be a basis for optimisation of the separation process. Following the demonstration, investment in two full-scale separation lines is foreseen, each with a capacity of approximately 4 100 tonnes/yr carpet waste.

    The pilot installation will process approximately 100 tonnes of carpet waste (90 tonnes in 2015, 10 tonnes in 2016), leading to the recovery and reuse of near pure streams of constituent materials (polyamide, polypropylene, PET, bitumen and other materials).

    After upscaling, the overall benefits are expected to be:

  • Collection of 1% of the EU's carpet waste, i.e. 16 000 tonnes/yr;
  • Utilisation of 50% of this amount for material recycling, i.e. 8 000 tonnes/yr, thereby diverting the same amount from landfill and also reducing the use of virgin materials by 8 000 tonnes/yr;
  • A reduction in energy consumption of 17.6 million kilowatt hours per year; and
  • 8 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided per year.

In addition, the beneficiary expects that the increased market value of the recovered materials will reduce their price, which will in turn increase the market for the material because it will compete on price with other disposal options, such as landfill and incineration.



Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Plastic - Rubber -Tyre


industrial process‚  alternative technology‚  waste recycling‚  plastic waste

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator DESSO Holding B.V.
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description DESSO is a leading European manufacturer of high quality, durable carpet, carpet tiles and artificial grass for commercial applications. DESSO Holding B.V. is the legal entity responsible for the DESSO group, including the two associated beneficiaries, DESSO Refinity B.V. and DESSO B.V.
Partners Desso Refinity BV, The Netherlands DESSO B.V., The Netherlands


Project reference LIFE12 ENV/NL/000269
Duration 01-JUL-2013 to 31-DEC -2018
Total budget 2,238,845.00 €
EU contribution 1,119,422.00 €
Project location Vlaams Gewest(België - Belgique) Région Wallonne(België - Belgique) Bruxelles-Brussel(België - Belgique) Schleswig-Holstein(Deutschland) Hamburg(Deutschland) Niedersachsen(Deutschland) Bremen(Deutschland) Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland) Hessen(Deutschland) Rheinland-Pfalz(Deutschland) Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland) Bayern(Deutschland) Saarland(Deutschland) Berlin(Deutschland) Brandenburg(Deutschland) Mecklenburg-Vorpommern(Deutschland) Sachsen(Deutschland) Sachsen-Anhalt(Deutschland) Thüringen(Deutschland) Île,de,France(France) Champagne-Ardennes(France) Picardie(France) Haute-Normandie(France) Centre(France) Basse-Normandie(France) Bourgogne(France) Nord-Pas-De-Calais(France) Lorraine(France) Alsace(France) Franche-Comté(France) Pays de la Loire(France) Bretagne(France) Poitou-Charentes(France) Aquitaine(France) Midi-Pyrénées(France) Limousin(France) Rhône-Alpes(France) Auvergne(France) Languedoc-Roussillon(France) Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France) Corse(France) Guadeloupe(France) Martinique(France) Guyane(France) Réunion(France) Luxembourg(Luxembourg) Groningen(Nederland) Friesland(Nederland) Drenthe(Nederland) Overijssel(Nederland) Gelderland(Nederland) Flevoland(Nederland) Noord-Brabant(Nederland) Limburg(Nederland) Utrecht(Nederland) Noord-Holland(Nederland) Zuid-Holland(Nederland) Zeeland(Nederland) North(United Kingdom) Yorkshire and Humberside(United Kingdom) East Midlands(United Kingdom) East Anglia(United Kingdom) South East (UK)(United Kingdom) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) West Midlands(United Kingdom) North West (UK)(United Kingdom) Wales(United Kingdom) Scotland(United Kingdom) Northern Ireland(United Kingdom) Gibraltar(United Kingdom)


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