Homes. For the carpet. DeJonge nearly went mad with worry:
To the decision-makers at Denver International Airport, it might have seemed a simple enough request.
None of the 75,000 yards of carpet to be ripped up and replaced in the main terminal and two concourses this year could end up in a landfill.
But as it turns out, the carpet industry is not as "green" as the fabric that will cover Concourse A in coming months.
Tanner DeJonge, project manager for ReSource Colorado, learned firsthand why millions of tons of carpet find their way into U.S. landfills each year. It took weeks of research, and some begging, for DeJonge to find homes for the three different types of carpet he was charged with removing at DIA, he aid.
"There were some dark nights," DeJonge said. "Times when I thought, 'I know this can be done, I just need to figure out how.'"And he did.
The grayish-blue carpet that once covered Terminal C was replaced with a patterned, bright-red material while workers installed new moving walkways. Most of the old carpet is now back at its original manufacturer and will be used as backing for new carpet.Oh, not blue.
Once carpet in Concourse A is removed starting in September, another manufacturer will take back 10,000 yards of it and strip off the nylon string to reuse it. Flights will not be affected by the work, which is slated to be completed by November, and workers will take August off to accommodate DNC travelers, Vickery said. Long-term plans call for turning Concourse B blue.
DeJonge was forced to look outside the carpet world to find a use for the 40,000 yards of gray, rubber-backed carpet that covered the main terminal and the rest of Concourse A. A cement plant in Missouri will burn the carpet to generate electricity.A cee-ment plant in Missouri, huh? I'll keep an eye out for reports of cow kills downwind. Anyway, if you think it's all joy in the carpet-recycling community, you're wrong:
The only catch: DIA must pay about $6,000 to ship the more than 11 tons of carpet to Missouri, said John Stanfield, president of ReSource Colorado. That doesn't seem like lot for a $3.3 million project, he said, but shipping costs alone are enough for many clients to toss old carpet in the nearest landfill.The filthy bastards.
"Everybody is thinking green - it's the new buzzword," Stanfield said. "People want to do it, but not if it's going to cost them anything."
Stanfield's experience is common across the country, especially in areas far from a carpet-reclamation facility, said Fred Williamson, a board member of nonprofit group Carpet America Recovery Effort.Yes, one-fifth. (The D-blog aced consumer math.)
In five years, CARE [yes, CARE--how do they get away with that?] estimates it helped divert 1 billion pounds of carpet from landfills. But that's only a fraction of the 5 billion pounds entering landfills yearly, Williamson said.
"We're nowhere near where we want to be," he said. "But it shows we're moving in the right direction."